Sky News – February 12, 2010
A suspected car thief was believed to be hiding from police in thick undergrowth in Bootle, Merseyside, so officers launched their new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
They used the on-board thermal imaging camera to seek out the teenager and pinpoint his hiding place 300-metres away.
The officer operating the drone from the ground was then able to guide colleagues to the exact location and they arrested the 16-year-old youth.
A second 20-year-old man was also arrested. Both have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Merseyside Police, who took delivery of the drone in November, say it can be used for monitoring everything from serious firearms incidents and hostage situations, to public events and football matches.
The drone has a top speed of 30mph, can fly to a height of 400ft and even comes with flashing blue lights.
Chief Inspector Nick Gunatilleke, from Merseyside Police, said: "We are the only police force in the country currently using a UAV like this.
"This is the first time the thermal imaging equipment has led directly to an arrest since the UAV went live in November so we are very pleased.
"We will use it whenever we can to support other resources such as the force helicopter and dog patrols in dealing with incidents when they arise."
Last updated 14/02/2010