1. ITV Report

Man accused of trying to smuggle drugs into prison - using a drone

An archive photo of a drone. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA

An Australian man has been arrested after a drone thought to be carrying drugs was said to have been spotted "hovering in the vicinity" of a prison.

Police say a man and a woman had been located in possession of what they believed was a "drone with four engines and a small quantity of drugs".

The alleged incident occurred near a prison in Ravenhall, a suburb of Melbourne on Monday.

A man from nearby suburb Lalor has now been charged with possession of a drug of dependence and attempt to commit an indictable offence, the force said.

The 28-year-old has been bailed and will appear in court on 17 March.

The alleged incident occurred near a prison in Ravenhall, a suburb of Melbourne on Monday. Credit: Google Maps

In comments on the Guardian website, a local prisons expert said all sorts of methods had been tried to smuggle drugs into prison.

David McCauley, acting industrial officer for the prison officer’s vocational branch of the Public Service Association said: “At the end of the day if they can throw tennis balls over the wall with drugs in them, and with staffing levels the way they are, it’s going to be very difficult to stop these drones,” he said.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are currently a contentious issue in the country, with a recent parliamentary roundtable discussing their impact on privacy.

Brad Mason, secretary of the UAV Operators Association told the hearing that his organisation had seen "a lot of illegal and unauthorised use" of drones, warning that their easy availability made them "really difficult to regulate".