Fisherman finds UK drone used to curb Channel crossings

Device was part of £50m measures to deter migrants from travelling from France to Britain

Migrants picked up in the English Channel are taken to Dover, south-east England, on June 17. AP
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A UK Home Office drone used to curb Channel crossings was reportedly found floating in the sea by a fisherman after it malfunctioned.

The British government promised to invest an extra £50 million ($59.9m) for measures including aerial surveillance to tackle the number of migrants making the journey to the UK in April.

The Tekever AR3 drone is designed to be launched from ships by catapult and can remain in the air for up to 16 hours before landing by parachute.

A fisherman discovered the five-foot-long device earlier this month, strapped it to his boat and took it back to the port in Dover, according to The Sun.

“We are aware of the incident involving a Tekever drone on July 5. It was recovered and the malfunction has since been corrected," said the Home Office.

“Our ability to operate drones in the Channel has not been impacted.

“Evil criminal gangs are putting profit over people by facilitating dangerous and illegal small boat crossings and we are committed to stopping them.”

“During a routine drone operation, a technical malfunction was detected on one of our drones," Tekever said.

“We followed the necessary protocol and landed the drone safely for collection.

“The cause of malfunction has been identified and corrected.”

The gadget, training, parts and other facilities cost £420,000, The Sun — citing figures reported by Reuters — said.

Tekever disputed the figure but neither it, nor the Home Office, disclosed the cost for operating the drone or the value of the contract.

The company said it would not comment on operational matters when asked if the drone was discovered by fishermen.

Updated: July 20, 2022, 10:27 PM
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