A man has been arrested in Kentucky after shooting down a camera-equipped drone that was hovering on his property.
Considering the drone’s presence above his property to be an invasion of privacy, William H. Merideth blasted it out of the sky using a shotgun.
Merideth told Ars Technica: "It was hovering, I would never have shot it if it was flying. When he came down with a video camera right over my back deck, that’s not going to work. I know they’re neat little vehicles, but one of those users shouldn’t be flying into people’s yards and videotaping.”
Shortly afterwards, four men reportedly turned up in a car, accusing Merideth of shooting down the drone and ‘looking for a fight’.
While wearing a 10mm Glock handgun in a holster, Merideth reportedly warned the men that there would be another shooting if they stepped onto his property. They subsequently backed down and waited for the police to arrive.
According to the men, the drone was worth £1,150 ($1,800).
Merideth was arrested for first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment and released the following day. He says that he is confidant that the charges will either be reduced or dropped completely.
Kentucky law does not require gun owners to register firearms and people do not need a permit to buy them. The only requirement for gun owners in Kentucky is that they are legal US citizens.
A resident using a legally owned firearm to safeguard their own property is unlikely to face conviction.
Merideth claims that he only used ‘Number 8 birdshot’, which he says wouldn’t come down with enough force to cause injury, should anyone have strayed into the firing line.
While the issue of shooting down drones that stray into back gardens is not one that is likely to affect UK drone users, it does raise importance questions over privacy.
The Civil Aviation Authority recently introduced a ‘Dronecode’ to promote responsible use of the small unmanned flying vehicles.
The charters states that drones fitted with cameras should not be flown within 50m of people, vehicles, buildings or structures.
(Image credit: IB Times)