Couple Detained Over Drones at Gatwick Airport Are Released Without Charge

LONDON — A married couple in Britain who were detained in connection with the criminal use of drones at Gatwick Airport, sowing three days of chaos and forcing the grounding or diverting of more than 1,000 flights, were released on Sunday without charge, the police in Sussex said.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said in a statement, “I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick.”

The couple, who were identified by Henry Smith, a member of Parliament whose constituency includes Gatwick Airport, as Paul Gait, 47, and his wife Elaine Kirk, 54.

They had been held since Friday night on suspicion of disrupting civil aviation services and endangering people or operations, according to the police.

Police officials had said they arrested a man and a woman of the same ages in connection with the investigation, but they did not name them.

The couple are both from Crawley, a town just south of the airport, and the police were seen searching a home in the area, according to local news reports. Mr. Gait’s Facebook page suggested that he was a drone hobbyist, and they included several photos of remote controlled helicopters.

But on Sunday, the Sussex police said, “It is important to remember that when people are arrested in an effort to make further enquiries, it does not mean that they are guilty of an offense.”

The statement said that the couple would not be officially identified, and that the investigation into the drone incursions continued at Britain’s second-busiest airport, which is about 25 miles south of central London.

Since a brief shutdown on Friday after a suspected drone sighting, no new drone incursions have been reported at Gatwick. The airport’s one runway in West Sussex was buzzed more than 40 times within 48 hours since the first sighting on Wednesday night.

Officials called in the Army to provide technical assistance, and the airport tweeted Friday, “The military measures we have in place at the airport have provided us with reassurance necessary to re-open our airfield.”

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