Film-maker fined after flying drone over busy Hyde Park

Marble Arch, in central London. Photo Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Marble Arch, in central London. Photo Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES

A film-maker stormed out of court after he was ordered to pay more than £1,000 for flying a drone over Hyde Park.

Richard Brunner, 32, was spotted by police piloting the aircraft in Park Lane above two open-top buses sitting in traffic at the Marble Arch roundabout.

The drone, described by Brunner as “about the same

size and weight as a seagull”, was fitted with a camera underneath and he was waiting to film three Mini Coopers for commercial purposes.

The area was busy with tourists and a triathlon was taking place nearby.

Brunner, of Reighton Road, Upper Clapton, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday where he admitted failing to comply with air regulation rules.

The court was told police saw him operating the aircraft and he quickly landed it as they approached and told him it was not safe to fly.

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Brunner told officers he was not aware of the rules and regulations before another man came over and explained he had hired Brunner to do the filming.

Brunner described the offence to the court as falling into “such a bizarrely grey area of the law” which even took the officers an hour to determine.

He also said his defence of simply not knowing it was a crime was “quite valid”.

“If I knew I was committing a crime I would not have done it in a busy street in front of the police,” he told magistrates.

“You can buy similar aircraft from Toys’R’Us.”

District Judge Jeremy Coleman fined Brunner £900 for the offences which he said could have injured people close by.

Brunner was also ordered to pay a £150 court charge, £90 victim surcharge and prosecution costs of £85.

The judge told him: “The crime is perceived to be quite serious. Whether you accept that or not is another matter.

“If you did not know the law beforehand you certainly do now.”

The director fired back: “This is completely unreasonable,” and cited a similar case in which a drone pilot charged with 20 similar offences was fined just £175 more.

He then stormed out of the court.