Drones are now the delivery method of choice for contraband-craving Brit prisoners

alphabet project wing drone delivery
Slavoljub Pantelic / Shutterstock
The U.S. prison authorities have for some time been looking at ways to deal effectively with criminals using quadcopters to fly drugs and other supplies into jails, while across the pond their British counterparts are also facing similar challenges.

Just last week, for example, police in London seized two remotely controlled copters attempting to deliver contraband to inmates at Pentonville Prison in the north of the capital. Spotted in the early hours of August 14, one of the drones crashed after apparently having already delivered its illegal cargo. The other one, however, was intercepted mid-flight and found to be carrying a large stash of drugs and mobile phones (pictured), thedrone contraband Evening Standard reported.

Metropolitan Police

London’s Metropolitan Police said the problem of people using drones to deliver contraband to inmates is now so serious it’s set up a special unit, called “Operation Airborne,” to deal with the issue.

There were 33 known incidents involving drones and prisons in the U.K. last year, with some flights at Pentonville involving the quadcopters actually entering the prison building through broken windows.

In a case that ended up in court last year, a London man was jailed for 14 months for attempting to fly “a psychoactive substance and tobacco” into a prison.

As the U.S. grapples with the same issue, prison administrators are examining various solutions to bring an end to the illegal deliveries. A company called Dedrone, for example, offers the DroneTracker, which uses multiple methods to detect drones within 1,640 feet in any direction. Once identified, it’s then a case of either meeting the drone as it lands, taking control of the flight, or even blasting it out of the sky, possibly with a shoulder-mounted, net-firing bazooka.

Drone are clearly still proving useful for jailbirds desperate for supplies from the outside world, but with prison services finally waking up to the issue, it seems that more creative methods may once again have to be called upon to get the contraband delivered.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Photography

Here are 8 GoPro tips to get the most out of your action cam

There's more to your GoPro camera than just mounting it to your skateboard. Whether it's finding the best accessories or understanding the settings more thoroughly, learn to shoot video like a pro with these simple GoPro tips and tricks.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Emerging Tech

How long is a day on Saturn? Scientists finally have an answer

The length of Saturn's day has always been a challenge to calculate because of the planet's non-solid surface and magnetic field. But now scientists have tracked vibrations in the rings to pin down a final answer.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Emerging Tech

Tiny microbots fold like origami to travel through the human body

Tiny robots modeled after bacteria could be used to deliver drugs to hard to reach areas of the human body. Scientists have developed elastic microbots that can change their shape depending on their environment.
Emerging Tech

Dinosaurs never stood a chance after asteroid impacts doubled 290M years ago

The number of asteroids pummeling Earth jumped dramatically around 290 million years ago. By looking at Moon craters, scientists discovered that d the number of asteroid impacts on both Earth and the Moon increased by two to three times.
Emerging Tech

Saturn didn’t always have rings, according to new analysis of Cassini data

Saturn's rings are younger than previously believed, according to new data gathered from the Cassini mission. The rings are certainly less than 100 million years old and perhaps as young as 10 million years old.
Emerging Tech

Water-based fuel cell converts carbon emissions to electricity

Scientists from Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have developed a system which can continuously produce electrical energy and hydrogen by dissolving carbon dioxide in an aqueous solution.
Emerging Tech

Scientists investigate how massive stars die in dramatic hypernova events

Our Sun will gradually fade before expanding into a red giant at the end of its life. But larger mass stars undergo extreme explosive events called hypernovas when they die which outshine their entire galaxies.
Emerging Tech

Pilotless planes are on their way, but would you fly in one?

Airbus says advancements in artificial intelligence can help it toward its goal of building a plane capable of fully autonomous flight, though whether passengers can be persuaded to travel in one is another matter entirely.
Emerging Tech

‘Tech vest’ prevents Amazon workers from colliding with robot co-workers

Amazon workers at its fulfillment centers are using "tech vests" to help protect them from collisions with their robot co-workers. The robots already have obstacle avoidance sensors, but the belt offers another layer of safety.