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Argument Breaks Out After Planning Authority Officer Flies Drone Over Residential Area

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An argument broke out in Xagħra, Gozo after a Planning Authority (PA) Senior Enforcement Officer flew a drone over a number of residencies.

The incident happened at Triq ta’ Gajdoru on 27th August, after a man temporarily residing in a Xagħra home spotted the drone flying above his yard and went to confront the officer.

Whilst police confirmed that the PA officer was flying the drone as part of his work duties, the Xagħra resident stated that the house’s owner did not sign any consent forms giving permission for drone filming to take place.

“Whilst my partner and I were relaxing around the pool, we saw a drone stop over our place and stay there for 20 seconds,” the resident said.

“It went away then came again, and it kept doing the same thing – so I walked outside and found the guy who was operating it.”

An argument proceeded to break out; however, no physical violence ensued.

“A few days after, as we had just started to enjoy ourselves again, the police knocked on our door and took me to the Victoria police station,” the resident continued.

“They told me I had to go and make a report because a report was made on me.”

There, the resident was informed that he will be required to attend a court sitting about the case this coming November.

“The police told me that the officer said I head-butted him, although they went on to say that he didn’t have any proof of it.”

“I swear to God that I’d never do something like that – I also suffer with anxiety, so I just know that from now to November it’s going to be a nightmare.”

When contacted by Lovin Malta, the PA refused to comment about the specifics of the case since it is “sub-judice”.

“The drones are being used by the Planning Authority as part of a national project for the updating of the national basemap. Before flying the drones over any given area, the Authority informs the Malta Air Traffic Services (MATS) and the respective Local Council of the flight paths,” a spokesperson for the authority said.

“A Facebook post on the Authority’s social media page has also been updated notifying the public of the drones’ presence in a given area. All gathered data that will get published as part of the basemap will be anonymised and no private information will be discernible.”

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