It was hailed as a formidable new crime-fighting weapon – a super-drone specially designed to track criminals in all weather conditions.
But just two days after the £20,000 spy in the sky was unveiled, a hapless sergeant lost control during a test flight and crashed it into a tree.
The officer was proudly demonstrating the 50mph drone to visitors at an open day at Gwent Police headquarters. The embarrassed sergeant had to call the fire brigade to recover it from the tree.
The officer was proudly demonstrating the 50mph drone to visitors at an open day at Gwent Police headquarters. The embarrassed sergeant had to call the fire brigade to recover it from the tree (stock photo)
A fellow officer tweeted: ‘Spend £20,000 on a new drone that can fly in the Welsh weather, then the good sergeant… flies it into a tree.’
Only two days earlier, Inspector Gavin Clifton showed off the drone – a Sky Mantis – to the BBC amid much fanfare.
He said police had been working with a technology firm for 18 months, ‘making sure the drone is exactly what we need’.
It was designed to cope with typically ‘Welsh weather’ of rain and heavy wind.
It was, Mr Clifton said, a cutting-edge piece of technology that would prove invaluable. ‘This drone will be used on a load of different operations, from missing people to public order events, accident investigation to rural crime,’ he added.
‘It will be especially useful on difficult terrain as we have around the Caerphilly area. Places that emergency teams will struggle to get to under normal circumstances.’
Gwent Police said: ‘The drone has since been fully repaired and will be ready to be redeployed imminently.’