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“Unmanned drones are being piloted over private homes by burglars in a bid to identify potential targets,” the UK’s reports. “Detectives fear the mini-helicopters, which can be bought for as little as £30, are being deployed to take surveillance photographs from above, posing a brand new threat to home security. Piloting them over perimeter walls will allow criminals to carry out low-risk reconnaissance around homes which cannot be seen from the public road.” This is not a UK-only phenomena . . .

It reflects a growing trend in the United States where a criminal outfit dubbed the Tub Gang has used drones across New York and New Jersey to identify burglary targets.

Digital footage on one drone recovered by police included stills of properties in Manhattan as well as commercial properties.

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said “Drones are subject to aviation rules and regulations and anyone breaching those rules can be prosecuted.”

So it’s illegal! That ought to stop ’em! Back in The Land of Hope and Glory, the Old Bill has advice for the general public wary of malevolent drone surveillance:

Paul Ford, secretary of the Police Federation National Detectives Forum, said: “Drones can be noisy and very visible so hopefully criminals risk giving themselves away.

“If members of the public observe drones being used in areas which make them suspicious they should contact police using the 101 non-emergency number to report it.”

Which will activate crack teams of burglary detectives who’ll run the miscreants to ground, I’m sure. Meanwhile, how long before drone hunting becomes a thing here The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave? Shotgun? Air gun? Anti-Drone drone? What? [h/t CC]

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      • I would think a drone load would be more appropriately something like #7 or so bird shot…

    • That’s illegal, and as for drone hunting, you risk targetting the tools of researchers and hobbyists, though admittedly they don’t hang around urban areas. I’m more worried about idiots that will shoot at any UAV simply because they think it has a nefarious purpose. Vid related.

      • Anyone flying a drone over my property or near my house is a tool, researcher or not. His drone dies.

      • if its over my property it will be shot down… End of Story!

        just because you can make a thing does mean you should make a thing.

        near everyone in my county feels that same way. All Drones from any source of any size will be shot down. Our Police support the idea and have shot down a few already.

        • Where do you live? I’d love to come out there, fly my drone legally, and reap the huge civil settlements! Probably the cops can pay more but I’ll take what I can get from regular people. Hopefully not a lot of the locals have homesteaded their homes. On a side note, have you and the cops fired on the Google maps vehicles? Or used lasers to blind aircraft flying overhead?

        • I own a quadcopter and I enjoy flying it. Maybe it has something to do with my crushed childhood dreams of becoming a pilot and an astronaut…whatever.

          I have every right to stand in my yard and fly my remote controlled quadcopter around every quadrant of my yard. MY YARD. It may come right up to the fence, you may be paranoid that someone is spying on you. If you shoot and destroy my property over my yard while firing in my general direction, don’t be surprised if I take that as an attack and return fire.

          The paranoia must stop.

        • Really Scott…? You’ve been building and flying model airplanes and helicopters for decades? Or perhaps, you just latched onto this new fad when you learned aerial video SPYING was central to the deal.

        • Spy? Not really. But, part of the fun of flight to to actually see as a bird sees. To soar, dive, bank, skim the ground and reach altitude can be done through the camera and not just by watching it from the ground.

          I don’t expect anyone to believe any of it. To a hammer everything looks like a nail. But. as long as I am on my property doing legal things. Don’t shoot in the direction of me or my family. I will defend myself and them.

      • “That’s illegal, …” (Yada, yada, yada…)

        Hey, JAlan?

        Lots of stuff is illegal.

        And gets done anyways. 😉


      • I don’t wanna sound like a jerk or anything like that but if she attacked me like that I would have kicked her fucking ass. It’s incredible to think that she would also just lie to the police and try to say that he assaulted her.

    • As the drones being commercially sold all operate on a pretty narrow freq spread, this is rather inexpensive and straightforward.

      I’ve head “rumors” of dangerous fun things you can do with old magnetrons and cantennas. Throw in random FM and you can smear the spectrum so there is no chance of communication.

      Edit: JAlan, Keep your drones out of my low-altitude airspace and there will be no issues. Come in low for a look see and there will be a ‘glitch’.

      • Unfortunately, unmanned vehicles like hobby UAVs are restricted to low airspace and within line of sight. So if you can see my UAV, you should be able to see me. As for causing a “glitch”, it doesn’t take much to find the source of a signal, and people who don’t like paying FCC fines often stay out of that. Going into your property is already illegal, and trust me when I say that you can’t really see much from even the lower altitudes with a hobby camera. Not that you’ll ever find me around your neighborhood. I stay in rural areas. I’m just worried about the negative connotation that is being given to UAVs, the vast majority of which are just AI research among other things.

        • they cant be uninvented but they can be Banned and should be. they are and will be abused by criminals and the Government.

          Sorry but just because you think a tech is cool many should never have been invented… AI, Drones, Tracking GPS software for Cell Phones, half to all the Software for marketing on the internet and much more.

          From ID theft to invasion of privacy our rights are gone. now people think and act as if they have the right to ALL information and no one has any privacy.

          Take a picture of me i will take it from you. if you upload it to the web… i beat you to one inch of your life. (not you but anyone who does it) Step on my property and refuse to leave…. you will be covered in Pepper Spray, continue to refuse to leave you will be shot.

          we have rights and it not for others to tell me/us what they are because they feel it should change.

          so again… don’t care if it is research, recreation, criminal, or Government Drone if it is in range of my rifle or shotgun and over my property it will be shot down. and yes i can hit a 10″ target at 1000yrds inside 500yrds i never miss. inside 200 yrds i will make a smiley face on the target.

        • I’m fully aware of the ‘rules and regs’ (and tech realities) of the state-of-the-shelf. If you don’t know what you can put on a bird to see from a km, I can’t help you. You obviously know sweet FA about what’s out there.

          Unless the candyman has 3 vans situated just perfectly they’ll never even know (let alone prove) why your invasion of my privacy turned into a heap of smoking plastic. That piece of melted garbage that I will be suing you for in small claims for dropping on my property. I don’t care that you don’t believe in personal privacy, I do.


        • Your “rights” to fly low altitude over my rural property ends when your actions spook and endanger my livestock. I will protect them.

          You’re much better off asking the land owner first – it’s considerate, demonstrates manners and good upbringing, and establishes some level of legitimacy. Rural people are rural for a reason – we like our privacy and detest it being disturbed. Besides, in most cases, if you’re flying over my land, you’re probably trespassing…

        • No right to operate a drone. I can see, considering the potential for abuse, these things getting FAA or FCC registration numbers mandated, that must be clearly visible on the chassis, then if one somehow goes down over your property (or you just get a good photo), you can look it up and find the owner.

      • I remember a story of a dude who messed around with a microwave magnetron…. He litterally boiled his eyes. This is to be avoided.

      • “I’ve head “rumors” of dangerous fun things you can do with old magnetrons and cantennas. Throw in random FM and you can smear the spectrum so there is no chance of communication.”

        If the drone can’t hear you’ve disabled it. Drone radios are FM, so use ‘capture effect’ against it. Your transmission just needs to be stronger than the drone’s. (Watts against milliwatts).

        No real need to get fancy about it, brute force RF is all you need.

        Dyspeptic is an EE and may have some insight here…

        • Geoff, I was being deliberately cagey-cryptic. I’m quite cognizant of exactly what to build and I’m sure DG is too. Google it up, it’s really rather basic stuff if you play with electronics at all.

          Back in my left coast days, I had one buddy who worked at JPL. JPL used to have an (very) informal contest amongst the motorhead contingent, regarding who could build the best defeater of cop radar. They ended the contest when they got to the point where they could make the cop’s gun literally fry itself.

  1. They want a picture? OFWG. Naked. You’ll be able to easily spot the drone burglers after that. They’ll be the ones stabbing themselves in the eyeballs with ice picks.

  2. I am about 90% sure this video is staged. First off, who sees a guy with a shotgun and doesn’t immediately fly their drone away? Second, how is the cell phone footage from the shooter and footage from the downed drone together on the same clip? Only if both the people knew each other could you set that up.

      • The video is not stored on the drone it’s usually transmitted remotely. That’s how the pilot can see what he’s doing.

        • Some drones record, some transmit video, and some do both. It depends upon the camera setup.

        • SR, It is painfully simple and incredibly cheap to have them transmit video in real time. Of the drone folks I know, they all have real time vid. Weighs less than a GoPro….

      • He fumbled with the safety so that he wasn’t shooting over his neighbor’s house. When he went around back (several hours later given how the shadows shifted significantly from the drone to the cell phone camera) and then fired into the mountainside where there were no houses. This guy is clever I’ll give him that.

    • I’m 99.9% sure this video is a set up. The quadcopter (drone) they show that was “shot out of the sky” was a cheap “toy” not capable of holding the steady shot ( ) of the video quality shown of the home from the air. There are quadcopters out there that are capable of carrying a good quality camera, but the one they showed destroyed wasn’t one of them.

      • Yep. Syma X5C, which has an operating range of about 100 feet. Might be able to push it out to 300 if you mod the antenna on the transmitter.

  3. “how long before drone hunting becomes a thing here The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave?” Well by this video it has already happened. Also wasn’t there a post here a while back about some locals giving out drone hunting licenses?

  4. Ridiculous, there is no crime in the UK. Besides, I live in a lo-tech neighborhood, they drive by in pickups.

  5. I’d think that by now, one could buy a jamming-device that blanks most “drone” control frequencies. There are such things for jamming wifi and cell-phones, so why not RC quadcopters?
    I’d prefer not to have to waste valuable ammo and time, waiting for nefarious burglars to fly into my airspace.

  6. We read here about a guy shooting down the neighbor’s drone after it was video taping him building his new home, the local police arrested him for discharging a firearm.

    • It’s the law in most residential areas. Unfortunately firearms are only legal counters against drones out in the boonies. If you live in town, you’ll need to be a little more creative.

  7. I think a garden hose could knock one of these things out of the air. That would be my plan.

  8. Hmmm I may need to get my M4 air soft gun working again. It could put a low level non metal drone in a world of hurt. The only other round I would ever be comfortable shooting at a drone is bird shot and even then I would still never consider doing that in my neighborhood.

  9. I practice this area of law. You’d be surprised regarding the amount of inquiries we get about the legality of shooting down drones (or UAS) over private property. The short answer is don’t do it. In the US at least, drones are considered to be aircraft, which would make it a felony to shoot at in US airspace. See 18 USC § 32 – Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities.

    • Drones? No, sir, haven’t seen any flying around here. Why, are you missing one? Aren’t they still kind of expensive to be loosing like that?

      Firearms? No, sir, don’t have any of those either. You see, there was this terrible boating accident last weekend…..

      Don’t know about the laws around here regarding drones but I do know the local po-po will cite you for a noise violation if you get caught discharging a firearm without cause. They will try and give you all kinds of other grief, but the citation is the only thing they can do legally.

    • “I practice this area of law. You’d be surprised regarding the amount of inquiries we get about the legality of shooting down drones (or UAS) over private property. The short answer is don’t do it.”

      OK, then I’ll buy a drone of my own and crash it into the snooper drone.

      Problem solved…

    • “Sheriff! There’s some pedophile stalking my property with a drone while my _minor_ daughter is sunbathing!”

      Additionally, I have an obligation to protect my herds from harm and my property from damage. If a drone is buzzing by my livestock, they will get spooked and get hurt.

  10. People are even more apeshit crazy about those scary drones than they are about those scary black rifles.

    Get a grip people.

    Also, shooting down a drone is not worth risking the loss of your firearms for committing a felony.

    The vast majority of drone pilots are photographers going for a cool shot, not peeping toms or burglars. They are actually as much fun as shooting and the imagery you can get is amazing with a skilled photographer flying.

    • vast majority of drone pilots are photographers going for a cool shot, not peeping toms or burglars

      Prove that theory.

      The majority of people who walk up to your front door are not burglars but I’ll be you take defensive steps none the less.

      not peeping toms REALLY? you believe that BS? These toynerds think, perhaps with justification, the risk of getting caught with the toy bird is much much lower than a ladder outside your daughters bedroom/bath window. These twits can buy a cheap “drone” on moms credit card from their/her basement lair, shoot some video and upload it to the internet and become “famous”. Get a dose of reality.

    • Legit pilots don’t fly their drones over someone else’s private property without some sort of permission.

    • If it’s illegal in your area/city/state to shoot the damn drones, then what does that tell you: Where is your freedom! So someone can fly one of these robots, spy on you in your yard or house, and then cry foul when you blow up their spy gadget? What a crock.

  11. Sounds great until you realize most metro areas and even small cities prohibit discharge of firearms within 100s of feet of any dwelling, building or road/street. And most consider air-arms as firearms. How do you defend your private airspace? With a flyswatter?

    • A signal jammer, deployed discretely, is probably the best way. Then the drone owner has to come to your door and ask for his expensive toy back.

  12. The crazy lady in that video, and her fate, makes me think we could add a second plank to a common saying. Apparently, a video society may become a polite society: you never know who might be recording your ass right into jail.

  13. I empathize with the desire to shoot down drones near your house, but it is illegal. The airspace above your house is not your property and the drones are someone’s private property. If you’re saying you are going to use a gun to commit a crime, so be it, but you would be leaving the group called “law abiding citizens.”

    • If I have a reasonable expectation of privacy…. in other words, if a uniformed officer would have to get a warrant to fly a drone over my property, then a private entity doing so is guilty of criminal trespass. Whether or not that authorizes me to engage, and in what manner, is another matter entirely, but I think it is safe to say that the police will gleefully do sweet bugger-all about it while the video goes on Youtube.

      • In Florida vs. Riley, SCOTUS ruled that since airplanes and helicopters often fly over private property, citizens do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy that their activities will not be observed from the air. Therefore, cops don’t need a warrant to fly drones over your property. It is not criminal trespass because everything from the ground up to 1,200 ft. is Class G airspace, controlled by the FAA. You don’t own it.

        CA has a law that requires warrants for drone surveillance. Some other states may also, but those would not apply to the feds. Also, if you are shooting down a drone, how do you know they don’t have a warrant? How do you know they are even surveilling you? They may be hovering over your property to get a better look at your next door neighbor. You shoot it down, you have probably violated multiple laws.

        Having worked in aviation safety, my big concern about shooting at drones is possible collateral damage. These little plastic drones would not be a problem, but if you have a drone that even weighed a 100 lb. and you hit it, it could easily do some serious damage when it hit the ground and as with any aircraft, you don’t know where it’s going to crash.

        • Its not 1989 and that pertained to the police. Be sure that your local gov’t has years of detailed multiview aerial photos of you property the use for all kinds of purposes including by the local tax assessor.

          This is a new area of the law that has not yet been tested.

        • But until it is tested, the old precedents apply. And I am absolutely sure that whatever new laws and applications of old laws do develop, it will not include the right of anyone to shoot down a drone.

        • Airplanes and helicopters do not fly 100 foot off the ground over private property. Model airplanes and helicopters are flown typically on your own property or public property like a park. If you want to fly a video camera to get perty pictures, do it at a state park – do not invade my privacy or startle my livestock.

          You’re making the same poor excuse PETA does with their anti-hunting drone flying. The only difference is hunters have law forbiding interference.

        • I can absolutely guarantee a test case the minute these things go seriously wide. (They’re getting there quickly.)

          So, all you folks who think you have the right to hover 50 ft over my house since, since you’re “off the ground” just because a misread law says so, here’s the reality of how this will play out….

          How’s that pool party of yours going? I’m gonna camp my drone 12 feet over your pool. I know you have a privacy fence, but since your gf/wife/daughter sunbathes nude, I’ll be 12 feet over her too. In fact, as long as I don’t touch the ground I have the right and you can’t do anything about it. I like to watch your kids wait for the bus from the obscurity of a van hundreds of feet away. This will be only the tip of the iceberg of the reality of drones.

          I have no problems with legit uses of drones, they are many. But if I can see your drone, you’re too close to the ground over my property.

        • I am against these uses of drones also. They should be outlawed. But it is never going to be legal to shoot at one that is not shooting at you.

      • Where I live, local municipality employs helicopter flyovers to detect pools and other structures on your property that have not been reported for permits. So much for privacy.
        My brother in-law works CSI in Florida and they also use helicopters for crime scene investigation.

  14. What is a hypocrite? It’s someone that thinks society is ridiculous for freaking out about guns, and then proceeds to freak out about overpriced RC toys.

  15. I live in a suburban area where it is illegal and dangerous to discharge a firearm or air rifle.

    But I didn’t see anything in the regs regarding slingshots or other mechanical contrivances…. 🙂

  16. So basically if the gov. does it, it’s OK! They are protecting the homeland from ISIS!!!

    But when citizens do it, we call them criminals…

  17. Like guns, drones can be used by good people or bad people. I’m really not surprised they are illegal in the UK. The UK has taken a list of everyone’s opinion and made those into mutually inclusive laws. Freedom seeking indivuals flee from the land of intolerance and the remainder love the agreed upon list of rules that everyone can enjoy without anyone being offended (except criminals of course).

    I like drones. I was thinking about building one myself – except mounting a remote controlled firearm on it. I could make an extra and Mail it Feinstein for entertainment purposes.

  18. A few commenters up above call for the government to ban these drones. Since they can’t be invented, the must be controlled.
    Funny that is posted on a pro-gun site where that attitude is a direct contraction to how most readers feel about gun rights and guns laws.
    If gun laws don’t stop illicit use of firearms, drone laws will not stop the illicit use of drones.

  19. If a drone lands on my property does that change anything. Or is a drone like a stray dog that is protected from harm? How about if the drone is six inches off the ground? or six feet. At some point, if it gets low enough, a drone should be considered a threat to privacy or even safety. Does anyone have an opinion as to what the limits might be?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  20. A guy I know who flies RC helis (helicopters) says people can take them over and steal them with a strong enough signal. Drones use a similar technology. Now that would be a funny turn of events! Maybe I’ll start a used drone parts shop. hmm….

  21. “Slap a camera on a child’s RC helicopter and suddenly it’s a UAV?”

    Just like when you slap camo cargo pants, a Condor leg holster and a black polo shirt on an overweight Costco assistant manager who owns an AR15 and some type of pistol, then show him a couple of YouTube videos about speed-reloads; you get an operator.

  22. I won’t shoot down the drone that’s surveilling my house. But I do have my own surveillance and security system protecting my home…that way I’ll know when bad guys, including those using drones, are coming. My feelings about shooting those bad guys when they show up…that may be a different story.

  23. So let me understand this… for firing a weapon in a crowded urban area at something inanimate that was someone else’s property and was causing no harm the guy gets an article defending him and tons of support from the comments?? This guy is an IGOTD if there ever was one

  24. I think if someone invented hand held EMP gun (which shoot in a cone pattern like a shotgun) they would make a fortune.

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