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£50,000 reward offered as man and woman from Crawley released

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Two people who were held over the drone disruption at Gatwick Airport have been released without charge.

In a statement, Sussex Police said the man and woman arrested were no longer suspects following the widespread disruption of flights through the illegal use of drones.

Gatwick Airport Limited is now offering a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

It comes after police searched a home in Crawley on Saturday after the two people were arrested on suspicion of “disrupting services of civil aviation aerodrome to endanger or likely to endanger safety of operations or persons”.

Sussex Police Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said: “Both people have fully co-operated with our enquiries and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick.

“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 offence and Sussex Police would not seek to make their identity public.

“Our inquiry continues at a pace to locate those responsible for the drone incursions, and we continue to actively follow lines of investigation.

“We ask for the public’s continued support by reporting anything suspicious, contacting us with any information in relation to the drone incidents at Gatwick.”

Those with information are being urged to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Police have reminded those willing to come forward that “payout on the reward will be made only if the information is given to Crimestoppers first”.

The disruption began at around 9pm on Wednesday and flight schedules have only just started returning to normal.

The closure of the airport disrupted about 1,000 flights and ruined the travel plans of more than 140,000 people.

Gatwick – Britain’s second busiest airport – serves more than 43 million passengers a year.

A spokesman said earlier: “Broadly, things are going in the right direction. By the end of the weekend, things should be back to normal.”

Meanwhile, Labour has accused the government of failing to act on the risks posed by drones at Gatwick and has called for an independent inquiry.

“The government was repeatedly warned about the risks posed by drones to aviation but failed to act,” said shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald.

“The delay in bringing forward legislation is indicative of this government’s failure to concentrate on the day-to-day business in front of them. They have taken their eye off the ball.”

According to The Times, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling put plans on hold as a result of pressure on his department, with civil servants diverted to deal with Brexit.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) said the claims were “a combination of nonsense and gross misrepresentation”.

A DfT spokesman added: “The drones at Gatwick have been flown illegally. The government changed the law this year to make it illegal to fly drones within 1,000m of an airport or above 400ft. The law couldn’t be any more clear.”

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