Don’t let crime take off this summer by reporting suspicious activity near airfields

Crime / Sat 8th Jun 2024 at 03:00pm

MEMBERS of the public are being urged to report suspicious activity around small airfields and airports in Essex, helping to stop crime from taking off this summer.

There are tens of thousands of light aircraft, helicopters and microlights flying in and out of small airfields and airports across the country every day.

These kinds of aircraft can be used by individuals and gangs to smuggle people, drugs and guns, as well as for committing terrorism offences. This is especially true at airfields or airports with limited or no checks.

There are many different types and sizes of airfields in Essex, varying from larger commercial or historical airfields to smaller flying clubs and simple air strips in farmer’s fields.

Not every airstrip can be monitored 24 hours a day, therefore the aviation and local community can play a vital role in preventing border crime and helping keep people safe.

Partners in Essex have joined forces to promote Project Pegasus, a joint law enforcement initiative between Border Force, the National Crime Agency, the Police and the charity Crimestoppers.

By raising awareness of this kind of crime, partners in Essex hope to discover whether it is a significant problem in the county.

The campaign asks residents to be the eyes and ears in their communities to help stop this kind of crime.

Residents are urged to look out for suspicious activities, such as:

  • planes landing in unusual places or at unusual times
  • packages being dropped from low-flying aircraft or suspicious deliveries
  • someone taking an unusual interest in airport security
  • someone where they shouldn’t be
  • seeing someone flying a drone close to an airfield or airport
  • an aircraft that has been unusually modified
  • a person being evasive about passengers, flights or routes
  • a person ignoring aviation regulations or filing misleading or false general aviation reports or flight plans
  • items being handled suspiciously or concealing cargo

If they do see something suspicious, they should not take direct action themselves or reveal their suspicions. Instead, they should call the police on 101 or if urgent, on 999.

Information can also be given to Crimestoppers, who are independent of the police, 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 at any time or by completing a safe and secure form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Essex County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement, said: “This type of crime causes immense harm to the UK, whether it is the smuggling of people, drugs or firearms, or terrorism related.

“We know there are a significant number of smaller commercial or private airfields in Essex, and we hope by raising awareness of what to spot, our communities can help us make a real difference in reporting suspicious or illegal activity.

“Local residents often know their nearby airfield and the people who use it. If they notice something unexpected or unusual, we would urge them not to hesitate and report it as soon as possible.”

Detective Chief Inspector Justin Beacher said: “Drugs ruin lives and cause misery in our communities and those responsible target and exploit some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“We also know that the sale of drugs goes hand-in-hand with violence that causes fear in our neighbourhoods.

“We are committed, working with our partners, to tackle those behind this – or any other – illicit trade.

“Criminals will look for different and innovative ways and we want to make sure we’re staying one step ahead of them.

“One of the ways we can do that is with your help, reporting suspicious activity to us. It helps us to build up a picture of what’s happening around the county and allow us to identify if there’s an issue with people using small airfields to commit crime.”

To support Project Pegasus, Essex Police and partners will be attending a number of events this summer sharing information on the signs of border crime.

Find out more about Project Pegasus at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/news-campaigns/campaigns/don-t-let-crime-take-off.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 Comments for Don’t let crime take off this summer by reporting suspicious activity near airfields:

2024-06-08 19:17:24

This is hilarious, the town is overrun by youths on e-bikes and scooters running drugs, the police can't even get on top of that !

David Forman
2024-06-09 16:01:46

I remember our Conservative Government recently sacking David Neal, the Independent Chief of Borders and Immigration, for reporting on lax security arrangements at London City airport in relation to non-scheduled flights (such as private jets). No doubt some of them contained oligarchs and dictators depositing their looted ill-gotten gains in the London housing market and the numerous offshore banking opportunities facilitated by London's finance industry. A 2022 article by the Institute of Chartered Accountants described London as 'The Laundromat’ and ‘Londongrad’ because it is a major centre of money laundering. See ICIBI report from March 2024 at https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6602a4a7a6c0f7580fef91e4/A_spot_check_inspection_of_Border_Force_s_operational_response_to_general_aviation_flights_at_London_City_Airport_January_to_February_2024.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjAqfX48M6GAxU8QEEAHeJMAPgQFnoECDIQAQ&usg=AOvVaw0uW7dvuOXRCLVjro7ZRZka

David Forman
2024-06-09 16:02:45

The Institute of Chartered Accountants 'Landromat' article: https://www.icaew.com/insights/viewpoints-on-the-news/2022/jun-2022/ec-londongrad-how-the-city-became-a-moneylaundering-haven

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *