Police recover 'damaged drone' near Gatwick Airport as cops offer £50k reward to catch culprit

Police recover 'damaged drone' near Gatwick Airport as cops offer £50k reward to catch culprit

The drone will now be taken away for forensic examination in a bid to find the suspect who caused Christmas getaway hell for thousands.

It comes after Paul Gait, 47, and wife Elaine Kirk, 54, who were arrested at their Crawley home on Friday night over the attacks, were released without charge today.

Gatwick now offering a £50,000 reward for the real culprit, who brought the airport to a standstill this week.

Christmas chaos at Gatwick, what we know so far…

  • Elaine Kirk, 54, and model aircraft enthusiast Paul Gait, 47, have been released without charge
  • Gatwick have put up a £50,000 reward to find the real culprit
  • Cops have found a 'damaged drone' close to the airport, which is being investigated
  • The Sun revealed how a cyclist was spotted "frantically" packing two drones into a bag near the airport
  • Gatwick fully re-opened yesterday with 757 flights scheduled after the drones twice caused chaos
  • The Army deployed 'drone killer' tech used in fight against ISIS jihadis to bring down the machines
  • Thousands are set for refunds and compensation after flights cancelled or delayed

Det Ch Supt Jason Tingley told Sky News officers had found a damaged drone near the "north perimeter" of the airport.

He said: "Obviously we will be doing everything we can with regards to forensically examining that drone and that is something that is being fast-tracked and expedited."

His comments come as Sussex Police confirmed Elaine and Paul were no longer considered suspects following their arrest on Friday.

The pair today returned home to Crawley flanked by police officers after 36 hours of questioning.

Det Ch Supt Tingley told Sky the couple were arrested following information police received from the public.

He added: "I'm confident that that arrest was justified and of course over the last day or so we have been meticulously investigating their involvement and I am satisfied now that they are no longer suspects in this investigation."

The couple's release means the Gatwick Grinch is still at large after bringing the airport to a standstill with the drone attacks.

More than 140,000 passengers were left stranded from Wednesday night with 1,000 flights cancelled or affected.

Det Ch Supt Tingley Tingley said: "Our inquiry continues at a pace to locate those responsible for the drone incursions, and we continue to actively follow lines of investigation.

"We ask for the public's continued support by reporting anything suspicious, contacting us with any information in relation to the drone incidents at Gatwick."

Cops are now trying to find the true culprit – with Gatwick Airport offering the £50,000 reward through Crimestoppers.

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: "If you have any information please contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at Crimestoppers website.

"Payout on the reward will be made only if the information is given to Crimestoppers first."

In July, the Government restricted drones to 400ft and banned them from flying within 1km of an airport.

Recreational drones are fitted with GPS “geo-fencing” preventing them from flying near restricted airspace, including airports.

If convicted, the drone grinch could face up to five years in prison.

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