Council is using TALKING drone to catch people ignoring coronavirus lockdown and tell them off via loudspeaker

A COUNCIL in Wales is using a drone to catch people ignoring the lockdown and telling them off through a loudspeaker.

Neath and Port Talbot Council are rolling out the flying machines to stop people who flout the government's instructions.

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The council shared a video of a drone being tested yesterday showing how the speakers will tell people to go indoors if they disregard the rules.

Anyone caught breaking the lockdown in Neath, South Wales will hear: "This is a message from Neath and Port Talbot Council.

"Please follow the given rules at this time, you must stay home."

In Wales, 34 people have died and a further 921 have been infected.

The council and the South Wales Police have teamed up to deploy drones to help identify hotspots where people are not following the government's announcement on Monday.

Under Boris Johnson's coronavirus lockdown, essential travel is only permitted for basic necessities, going to and from work as a key worker, and to exercise in the form or a walk or jog.

Police have the power to issue £60 fines or arrest people if they refuse to comply.

Experts have also urged people to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the killer bug.

They advise you keep two metres – or 6ft – between you and any other people.

Councillor Rob Jones, leader of Neath and Port Talbot Council, said: "It is quite niche, people aren’t following the instructions of social distancing.

"Therefore, without putting my staff at risk, we had to come up with something unique and this is the solution we came up with.

"We are beginning to see that it is very effective. People are not listening, so I will use whatever means possible to get the message out on social distancing – it’s for their benefit, not for mine."

Residents appeared divided on the scheme.

Rachel Honey-Jones, said: "Wow! That is some next level stuff! Albeit feels a bit 1984-esque – however agree necessary!”

But Carly Murray, who was at a nearby Boots when the drone was being tested, said: "This upset a lot of people today at Neath Boots.

"People were waiting nearly an hour and a half for their prescription and people were very orderly and staying 2m apart.

"This drone turned up and changed the mood. People were perplexed where it had come from and what they could do as they were waiting for Boots.

“People were annoyed to be told to go home when they were already stressed and fed up waiting hours for medications.”

One drone is currently in use but the council are looking to introduce more in the coming weeks.

It comes after police around the country are starting to crack down on people ignoring the coronavirus lockdown.

Police took drone footage of people taking selfies and walking their dogs miles from home in the Peak District – both activities are considered unnecessary at the current time.

Road checks were seen across the UK including in Devon, Harrogate and York, where officers quizzed drivers on their journeys and whether they were "essential".

Yesterday, cops were handed new powers to fine Brits up to £1000 for breaking rules for being outside their homes.

The latest police measures are reminiscent of how police in China deployed drones to make sure residents stayed home amid the outbreak earlier this year.

A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council said: "We have teamed up with South Wales Police to survey hotspots where people are not following government measures on social distancing.

"The message being played is reminding residents to stay at home except for: shopping for necessities, obtaining medical supplies, one period of daily exercise, and travelling to and from essential work."


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