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-   -   Private strip - Anti terrorist police? (https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/139779-private-strip-anti-terrorist-police.html)

shortstripper 2nd Aug 2004 05:37

Private strip - Anti terrorist police?
A couple of weeks ago we had an attempted robbery in the village which was thwarted by the home owner. During the hunt for the culprit, the police came across the airstrip (well, aeroplane in a field really, as there is no defined "strip").

A week later two plain clothed policemen in a landrover turned up and quizzed my friend (working on his aeroplane at the time) for over half an hour. They took details of his and my aircraft, what pilots flew from here, addresses ect ect. They told him it was all to do with new anti-terrorism measures ... but as they were from one of the channel ports, I'm guessing that customs were mixed up with it as well?

I'm just curious if any other strip owners have had a visit recently? There is no requirement to inform anybody of a private airstrip, and they didn't indicate that we were doing anything wrong. I assume that known ones would not come under such scrutiny and it's just that they were basically being nosey about this one that they'd just discovered.

It does make you laugh though to think we could be a threat. At 250m, we could hardly load up much explosive, and even if we could, our lightweight aeroplanes would bounce off any structure and just kill us and whoever we fell on. As for smuggling people in and out of the country, an aeroplane is hardly inconspicuous, and one at a time would not really be worthwhile. :\


bar shaker 2nd Aug 2004 05:57


Its pretty certain that HMCE will have known about your strip almost since you first used it. I have their list of Essex strips (a few years old now) and it is extensive. Over 30 strips are listed with details of residents' aircraft and land owners.

You are being watched!

capt.sparrow 2nd Aug 2004 06:06

You'll find that under shedule 7 of the Terrorism act 2000 an officer can now question anyone using your field wether a domestic UK flight or an international. I suppose they are looking at who and why people are doing what they are.

BEagle 2nd Aug 2004 06:15

Customs and Excise do keep an eye and an ear on what goes on.....

Some years ago I was asked to assist with some details about a flight made by one of our pilots. The pilot had given ATC the correct name of destination, but C&E thought something was suspicious when the a/c set off in what they thought was a totally different direction. All easily explained - the two destinations had similar names. C&E thought the flight was going to an aerodrome in Cheshire, whereas the pilot was actually going to a private site in Cambridgeshire

I'm sure that C&E and the Immigration authorities do keep a discrete eye on light a/c comings and goings, especially in the south-east. A regrettable necessity whilst some low-life still attempt to smuggle drugs and immigrants into the country; when they get caught they deserve no sympathy whatsoever.

Squadgy 2nd Aug 2004 06:46

As for smuggling people in and out of the country, an aeroplane is hardly inconspicuous, and one at a time would not really be worthwhile

But it has happened allgedly :


bigflyingrob 2nd Aug 2004 07:18

Well maybe the police in Essex are a bit slow but we had a visit from the local plod last year after a motorist reported a plane "crashing" in a field. Despite being less than 2 miles from the police station the copper knew nothing baout the strip. Good local knowledge there!
Also when we had a couple of break ins at our strip in Herts we had to go to the local museum to guide the police in on both occasions as the first lot had not told the second lot how to find us. We have a windsock up a 20 foot pole as a guide!
The local police helicopter crew knows where we are as they land for tea on occasion but the local station seem to struggle!

Genghis the Engineer 2nd Aug 2004 07:19

The club that I fly with has a smallish strip in Hampshire, we get a visit from HMC&E once or twice per year. Always polite and friendly, but I don't think that they miss much.

I think that this is the experience of most small strips to be honest.


Capt. Manuvar 2nd Aug 2004 08:06

I do agree that some of these new anti-terrorism procedures can be quite intrusive. Private strip owners will actually be doing themselves a favour by volunteering information to the bill. Unfortunately, most authorities seem to be obsessed with asserting their "authority".
The recent spotter police initiative is a good example. After 9/11 most spotters saw that they faced severe disruptions to their hobby and offered to help the authorities. Very smart move. I think GA can take a leaf from that. Unfortunately, Private flying is an exclusive club:( .
Capt. M

tacpot 2nd Aug 2004 09:54

Had a couple of Special Branch officers turn up at the strip I fly from yesterday. Unannouced, plain-clothed, very discrete. Didn't get to talk to them, so didn't learn the reason for their visit. The chap that did talk to them said it was just a routine visit...

S-Works 2nd Aug 2004 10:18

The police use our strip for training the dogs so we have pretty much a 24x7 presence!

They do routine inquiries on the strips in our area just to keep themselves upto date on local goings on. They tell me there is nothing sinister in a visit (unless you have something to hide!). When they get to know the local guys it is a lot easier for them to deter the trouble makers who phone in and complain.

Personally I like the regular appearance of plod at our place as it adds a bit of security!

Jodelman 2nd Aug 2004 10:30

Both Special Branch and HMC&E are regular, if infrequent, visitors to our strip. I think it gives them an excuse for getting out of the office and also SB admitted that they wanted us on their side as we would spot unusual movements long before thay heard about them.

SB also, about a year or so ago, collected all the names and addresses of owners at the strip together with their car registration numbers. Said they were entitled to do this under the ANO. Didn't argue with them at the time but no effort has been made by them to keep the information up to date.

stiknruda 2nd Aug 2004 10:49

Plod-u-like pops into my strip about once a year, has a cuppa and slides off quite happily!

Never happened before 9/11, though.


floppyjock 2nd Aug 2004 13:16

Its not only happening down south. We have them round our place in East Fife from time to time. Maybe something to do with the second in line to the Throne studying localy.


shortstripper 2nd Aug 2004 17:18

So it's not only me then? :p


PS. We've been flying out of the field for about four years now so I guess we did well not to be noticed before

GARDENER 2nd Aug 2004 17:27

In my experience where HMC&E are involved it is more a matter of attempting to justify their jobs! Those involved probably thought OOOH small airfield....this will keep us busy for a couple of weeks.

Zlin526 2nd Aug 2004 19:52

I can vouch that Essex C&E have a very detailed knowledge of what's going on at farm strips.

I arrived at 0600 one morning ready to get off to somewhere distant, only to find a very nice C&E man taking notes.. Not only aircraft reggies (Thought he was a secret plane spotter!), but also car reggies (A real anorak?) Gave him a cup of my coffee, we compared notes on the airstrips we knew and he went away a happy man.

Cant see a problem with it really; at least they know who should be on your airstrip:ok:

Send Clowns 3rd Aug 2004 10:32

Don't be daft, GARDENER. They do some things they shouldn't at the channel ports, but they are trying to safeguard our money and combat drugs in our country. I had the privilege of a long chat on a car journey with one of the CAA's people who works closely with them on investigations. A lot happens by air, HMC&E need to know what.

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