A 52 year old male has been arrested in Greenock for following a nuclear submarine with a drone.

Police arrested the 52-year-old man in Greenock after reports of a drone flying close to a submarine in the Clyde.

The Greenock Telegraph reported that a joint operation was immediately launched by the MoD and Police Scotland and that the operator has been charged with air navigation offences and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal. It is understood that alarm was raised after a ‘small unmanned surveillance aircraft’ which appeared to be following and tracking the submarine.

I had earlier reported that the arrest was in connection to a December investigation over sightings of a drone near the base and close to a submarine, however, it is now understood that this arrest happened after the operator of the drone was traced to Battery Park in Gourock after what appears to be a far more recent incident.

This casts very strong doubts over whether or not the arrest was related to the earlier investigation as most drones do not have the range to reach the No Fly Zone near the base from that location.

I’m awaiting confirmation that this is in fact a separate incident to the one that occurred late last year when the Ministry of Defence confirmed that a drone had been sighted near HMNB Clyde at Faslane, stating:

“We can confirm that there was a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of HM Naval Base Clyde. The person operating the drone has not been identified and there is an investigation ongoing. At no time was there any risk to any vessel or any members of the public.”

If this is in fact unrelated to the earlier investigation (which now seems very likely despite what I had been told earlier) then this incident raises serious questions over the usage of drones and the vulnerability of submarines leaving or entering Faslane.

Christopher McElney, who represents Inverclyde, told me this afternoon:

“This case highlights a real concern for people that live on the Clyde. The submarines travel for miles above shore in plain sight, outwith the no fly zone, and I think people that live in the area deserve an answer; if hobby drone flyers are being arrested for the threat they provide, how is the threat from people that may be intent to cause harm mitigated?”

It’s a very fair question and one I’m curious to find an answer to also.

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Cam
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Cam

Haven’t we already seen this story?

Lee1
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Lee1

I think it is updated

Cam
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Cam

Yeah 👍

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

So not only did he fly within the restricted zone as per the earlier article, he then followed an active SSN or SSBN.

He’s either a complete idiot or in bed with CND.

Cam
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Cam

I’ll go for “complete Idiot” mate. But I wonder what the actual distance is where u can fly a drone near a RN vessel in open public water ways ….. for photography reasons as a drone can get pictures only rich people used to be able to in helicopters ect.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

No idea mate.

Stephen
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Stephen

50 metres as per CAA rules. 150m from a congested area.

Chris Bagnall
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Chris Bagnall

Assuming this is a different incident, Battery Park isn’t actually part of the NFZ for either Faslane (HMNB Clyde) or GLA.

Whilst following a sub isn’t perhaps the most sensible course of action, provided the legally required separation is maintained… it’s not illegal either.

John F. MacMichael
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John F. MacMichael

No reason he cannot be both.

Chris Bagnall
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Chris Bagnall

I actually watched a chap flying what appeared to be a Mavic Pro at Battery Park on the day before the start of Joint Warrior (NATO exercise) when ships were heading up the Clyde towards Glasgow KGV dock. I was in Battery Park myself at the time photographing said ships (from the ground, I hasten to add). I did remark to the friend with me that I thought they were being a bit ‘brave’ – but I also checked the NATS app, and indeed the location we were standing was not within either the Faslane NFZ or GLA’s NFZ. I… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Added to this was the incident of a drone landing on HMS QE, also in Scotland I think?

MoD might need to get a grip on this sort of thing.

Peter Crisp
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Peter Crisp

I don’t think they can do much unless they’re going to start shooting drones down. They can obviously make it illegal to fly drones close to military assets but even then people will still do it even at the risk of arrest. To be honest though I don’t think this posses the MOD any more danger than people with massively powerful zoom cameras on hills overlooking military bases who can also take pictures. If you take something like The Mach Loop in Wales people take photo’s of all the latest military aircraft and the military doesn’t mind because it’s harmless… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Agree concerning photos and the like Peter, my thought was more along the lines of a drone with an explosive device on board.

And yes love the Mach Loop, yet to go myself.

Chris J
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Chris J

“And yes love the Mach Loop, yet to go myself.” I highly recommend it, but take some earplugs! I visit once or twice each year and it never fails to amaze me just how bloody loud military jets are up close, particularly some US craft like the F15. Only problem is the MoD don’t, for obvious reasons, advertise when they’ll be flying in the area so it’s a bit of a lucky dip as to whether there’ll be any planes flying on the day you visit. There are a couple of photography websites that have a better idea of when… Read more »

Herodotus
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Do ye no ken that a drone is essential to the pipes ye Sassenachs!!!!

The Big Man
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The Big Man

Only someone with Scottish blood will understand that comment.

Phillip Binnie
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Phillip Binnie

Any drones near a royal navy ship sub should be shot down as it could carry c4 or a small bomb and any person flying one near or next to a base ship or sub should be investigated and if found out for treason the death penalty

MattW
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MattW

In the original story I had given him the benefit of the doubt. I now revoke that, he’s a plonker!