Mystery of low-flying helicopter weaving “erratically” around Dereham appears to have been solved

Police are investigating after a Norwich butchers was targeted. Picture: Denise Bradley

Police are investigating after a Norwich butchers was targeted. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The mystery of a helicopter flying 'erratically' around fields in Norfolk appears to have been solved.

Police said they had received multiple reports last week of a helicopter flying close to the ground around the Dereham area.

In a newsletter from Operation Randall, which focuses on rural crime, officers put out the appeal for information.

They said reports had come in of the blue and yellow helicopter in the area around Stanfield, with the aircraft flying below the 500ft limit and startling cattle in the fields.

In an unusual plea, officers from the wildlife crime team put an appeal out as they asked residents to capture video footage of the craft.

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They said regulations enforced by the Civil Aviation Authority meant no aircraft can fly within 500ft of a building, person, vehicle or vessel without prior permission.

Following reports to the Civil Aviation Authority, PDG Helicopters have claimed responsibility for the aircraft, and insisted there was 'no danger to the public'.

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A spokesman for PDG Helicopters said they had recently started inspection work for electricity company UKPN, which involved flying the helicopter alongside pylons to check for any faults in the network.

'This work involves looking at wooden electricity poles and wires to check for faults that cannot easily be seen from the ground,' the spokesman said. 'This is an essential part of maintaining the electricity supply for consumers within Norfolk and the adjacent counties.

'These electricity lines branch out across the countryside and the helicopter has to follow their every twist and turn, hence the apparently 'erratic' flight path. In order to get a good view of the poles, the helicopter must fly at low level so the helicopter company has a permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to do that.'

PDG's chief pilot Ross Waddams said: 'Our pilots are all very experienced at this type of work and there is no danger to the public.'

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