Suspicious drone seen near home

North Otago woman Leanna Fryer-Raisher at her Hilderthorpe property, where she and her husband discovered a drone hovering nearby on Sunday. Photo: Daniel Birchfield
North Otago woman Leanna Fryer-Raisher at her Hilderthorpe property, where she and her husband discovered a drone hovering nearby on Sunday. Photo: Daniel Birchfield
A North Otago woman remains on edge after she and her husband encountered a suspicious drone hovering above their rural Hilderthorpe property north of Oamaru on Sunday night.

Leanna Fryer-Raisher was watching television with her husband about 9pm when she noticed two red and green flashing lights through a crack in the lounge room curtains.

She initially thought it may have been a helicopter hovering in the distance, until she and her husband investigated.

''I couldn't hear anything so I muted the television, and we both walked over to the door and a drone was quite literally 10m from our back door. It was really close and just hovering above our hedge.''

The drone took off a few seconds later.

Suspicions aroused, her husband jumped in his car and followed the drone, but lost sight of it.

However, he spotted it again when he decided to try his luck in Gray Rd and continued to follow it to Macdonalds Rd, where Mrs Fryer-Raisher said he ''high-beamed'' it with a spotlight on the roof of his vehicle.

The drone hovered above a paddock for a short time and then landed, before someone appeared to collect it, return to their parked vehicle and sped away.

Her husband was unable to record the vehicle's number plate, she said.

Mrs Fryer-Raisher did not know the drone owner's intentions, but said the experience had left her frightened.

''I'm 30 weeks' pregnant at the moment so it's a bit scary for me. It's very scary ... it's very creepy. It made me feel a little bit on edge being home alone, after my children left for the bus stop even.''

She reported the incident to police yesterday.

Sergeant Blair Corlet, of Oamaru, said reports of suspicious drone activity were rare and encouraged people to report any questionable sightings to police.

''It may be a breach of privacy, which is why people should report it to police. Obviously we would like to find the person who was operating that drone and talk to that person.''

He said drones fitted with cameras could potentially be used to survey properties for illegal activity, but he was not aware of any instances of that happening in North Otago.

Similar incidents have been reported in Waimate recently and, in 2015, an Eden St woman reported a drone was spying on her while she was gardening. A drone, complete with camera, was later found abandoned at Glen Warren Reserve.

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