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Damaged drone found near Gatwick airport after flights chaos

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 21: Passengers wait with their luggage in the South Terminal building at London Gatwick Airport after flights resumed today on December 21, 2018 in London, England. Authorities at Gatwick have reopened the runway after drones were spotted over the airport on the night of December 19. The shutdown sparked a succession of delays and diversions in the run up to the Christmas getaway, in what authorities have called a “deliberate act” to disrupt the airport. Police continue their search for the drone operators responsible. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

A damaged drone has been found near Gatwick Airport, police said Sunday following widespread disruption due to drone incursions.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingey said the drone was discovered “close to the perimeter of the Gatwick Airport in Horley, and obviously we will be doing everything we can with regards to forensically examining that drone and that is something that is being fast-tracked and expedited.”

Earlier Sunday, two people arrested near Gatwick were released without charge. Sussex Police Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said in a statement: “Both people have fully co-operated with our inquiries and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick.”

The 47-year-old man and 54-year-old woman were arrested Saturday in Crawley — the closest major town to the airport.

“It is important to remember that when people are arrested in an effort to make further inquiries it does not mean that they are guilty of an offense and Sussex Police would not seek to make their identity public,” Tingley said.

A number of UK newspapers named the couple.

Gatwick Airport has offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the drones that disrupted flights for two days affecting about 150,000 passengers.

The incident revealed how vulnerable the UK airport system is to disruption and even attacks by drones.

In an interview with the Sunday Times Sunday, UK security minister Ben Wallace said al Qaeda, the terror group behind the 9/11 attacks, was plotting to carry out new atrocities against airports and airliners.

The newspaper quoted security sources saying sketches of drones designed to deliver bombs were discovered during a recent terrorist investigation in the US.

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