Police ask plane spotters to join flight against drones at UK's busiest airport

The Met are looking for plane spotters to help counter the risk of crime and terror at Heathrow Airport Credit: Steve Parsons/ PA

The Metropolitan Police is appealing for plane spotters to help keep watch of the skies over Britain's busiest airport after drones grounded flights.

The force is seeking applicants for an unpaid scheme which issues plane spotters at Heathrow Airport with an identity card, allowing them to be easily identified by authorities when they are in the vicinity of the airport.

But membership comes at a cost - the Met advised there is a £7.50 charge to cover the cost of a security check and issuing the ID. It emphasised that successful applicants will not be employed by the force.

The Met said the purpose of the scheme is "to help prevent crime and terrorism" by asking its members to look out for anything out of the ordinary.

Drones can cause serious damage to planes taking off and landing. Credit: PA

Heathrow is the second airport to be affected by drones. London's Gatwick Airport, the second busiest in Britain, was brought to a three-day standstill in December after devices were spotted over the airfield. The disruption left thousands displaced just days before the Christmas break.

Flights only resumed after military hardware to disrupt drones was deployed, although these systems have now been withdrawn.

Following the disruption over the Christmas period, both Gatwick and Heathrow said they would be investing millions in anti-drone technology - but so far neither has announced a solid solution to the threat posed by the unmanned aircraft.

Passengers were forced to sleep on benches at Heathrow after a drone grounded flights earlier this month. Credit: PA