Terrorists could use drones to drop explosives on UK targets, warns ex-navy chief

© Francois Lenoir
Terrorists could use drones loaded with explosives to carry out attacks, a former Royal Navy admiral has warned.

Ex-Navy chief Admiral Lord West of Spithead has called for tighter controls on drones, including a registration list and licenses. At present, there is no registration scheme for drones in the UK.

West’s warning came as the Foreign Office issued a statement on Thursday claiming it has evidence that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is already using drones for propaganda and surveillance purposes.

Former security minister West said that if IS is using drones in its territory, it could also use them in Europe.

I don’t think our control of drones is as tight as it should be. If they are using them there, then in fact they are probably even easier to use here because you can get them so much easier. You can pop into any store and buy them. Therefore I am very concerned,” he said.

West suggested that drones should be fitted with mandatory technology which makes them inoperative if they go beyond the “boundary of some area.”

The other thing is, I think buying drones of a certain size – let’s say ones that can carry two pounds weight and above – you should, rather like getting a gun license, have some way of proving who you are and registering,” he said.

Both Ireland and the US have registration schemes for drones, which British ministers are considering emulating.

Weeks before the Euro 2016 football tournament, the Sun newspaper reported that IS was planning attacks using drones armed with chemical weapons, bombs, and even AK47s.

Meanwhile, a Belgian security source said that data retrieved from the computer of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam includes the mention of drones. However, it was not clear how they might have been used in an attack.