Man arrested for flying drone near Swedish king’s palace

The industry does have a label for these people: drone idiots.

People who intentionally take a drone – a good piece of technology in its own right – and fly it into places where it absolutely has no business flying over in the first place.

We have seen what the people can do: Drones smuggling contraband into prisons. A drone forcing a Premier League match – watched by millions all over the world – to be stopped and players forced back into the dressing rooms for their own safety. A drone scaring nesting birds into abandoning their eggs. A drone trying to sabotage a power grid. A drone causing mayhem at an airport and putting thousands of travellers’ holiday plans into disarray.

What these lawbreakers only succeed in achieving is further widening the gap between drone regulations and the side of UAS industry that genuinely wants to move society forward. We mean the side of the good guys who are hoping for the law to allow them to transport emergency medical supplies from one part of the city to another without putting any person or place in danger whatsoever.

Or engineers hoping to carry out inspections on cell towers and other utility infrastructure without creating anxiety on the rest of the nearby population.

Sadly, society has to contend with people like this Swedish man who was arrested at the weekend on suspicions of flying a drone near over the King of Sweden’s residence near Stockholm.

Media reports from the country say local police arrested and detained the suspect on Sunday afternoon near Drottningholm Castle, one of Sweden’s Royal Palaces.

It is a violation of Swedish the law to fly a drone over sensitive places, such as the private residence of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.

“We are not confirming the nationality of this person, we simply confirm the arrest of a man,” Stockholm police spokesman Ola Österling told AFP.

The investigation has been partly handed over to the Swedish domestic intelligence agency, SAPO.

The arrest is just the latest in a series of drone trespasses that Swedish police are currently investigating, following a number of drone sightings in prohibited places in recent weeks.

It is barely a fortnight ago that Sweden’s domestic security agency confirmed that it was investigating a case where drones were seen hovering over or near the country’s three nuclear power plants.

“At first, police said there had been drones over two nuclear plants — Forsmark, north of Stockholm, and Oscarshamn in the southeast,” media reports said. “The intelligence service, known by its Swedish acronym SAPO, said a drone also was reported over a third nuclear power facility, Ringhals, which is the largest of them and sits on the country’s western coast.”

Police say no suspects have been found yet on this infraction. Swedish media said the drones were large enough to withstand the wind that was blowing over the area.

Also in January, a “military drone” was reportedly seen flying over the Swedish parliament, government buildings and the royal palace in central Stockholm.

We have to say that if it is mere mischief, its timing is really poor, coming at the exact moment when the Swedish army is on high alert as a result of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The Scandinavian country has recently reinforced its defences on the island of Gotland in response to the latest development in the region.

Swedish police have said that they were not yet able to prove that the suspected drones had been deployed by a foreign country.


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