Drone sightings diminishing

Sightings of suspicious-looking drones being flown with unknown intent near rural North Otago properties at night appear to be on the wane.

Last month it was reported drones, some with recording devices attached, were hovering over residential properties and outlying buildings in the area around McPherson and Ferry Rds, sparking concerns they were being used by would-be thieves to case properties.

The Otago Daily Times earlier reported three drones were seen flying at the airport about 8.40pm on August 30.

On November 11, a public meeting was held to discuss the issue.

Farmer Hayden Williams, who lives near the airport, said since then the number of sightings had declined, which he suspected was the result of the community banding together to communicate sightings and the publicity the issue had garnered.

"There has only been one more that I am aware of since, which was last week sometime. They were just flying around in the dark and only around for a very short time. It's not as much as we were getting, that's for sure.

"That could be for a number of reasons. Our community neighbourhood watch group has been good, so people in our community have stood up and the people flying the drones might have given up. I would only be guessing that."

He also praised the efforts New Zealand Airline Academy Oamaru flight school instructor Celroy Mascarenhas, who had taken to posting when night flying was taking place at the airport.

Mr Williams said that had helped clear up some confusion, as in the past some had mistaken the sound of aeroplanes for drones.

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge, of Oamaru, said no reports of suspicious drones had been received from rural areas in recent times.

However, a drone was spotted on Tuesday night hovering above Tees St. Who was flying it and why it was being flown have not been established.

He advised people to contact police immediately if any drone looked out of place, particularly if it was near the Oamaru Hospital helicopter pad.

"If people get concerned we would like people to report it at the time so we can go and have a look at it and let the rescue helicopter people know, because it could be catastrophic if something happened there."

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