UK
26/02/2015 08:59 GMT | Updated 26/02/2015 09:59 GMT

Three Al Jazeera Journalists Arrested In Paris Night Drone Mystery

Three Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested for allegedly flying drones in Paris at night while filming a report about several drone sightings near French landmarks.

French police have been left baffled by the repeated apearance of small remote controlled aircraft near Paris landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and the US embassy earlier this week.

Flying drones at night is illegal in the French capital and requires a permit during the day.

If found guilty, the unidentified journalists could face up to a year in prison and a €75,000 (£55,000) fine.

Of the three arrested, Agence France-Presse reports: "The first was piloting the drone, the second was filming and the third was watching."

French police consider unauthorised drone flights to be worrying, particularly in the light of recent terror attacks, but the main reason for the ban is the possibility of injuring civilians.

These cases follow on from several cases of the small craft seen at French nuclear power stations last year and the presidential palace in January.

The police first began investigating mysterious drone flights when energy company EDF complained about 20 separate cases of small craft hovering over their nuclear plants in November.

There was then a scare when a drone was spotted near Francois Hollande's private residence shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

In the same month, small drones were also spotted over a bay in Brittany which housed nuclear submarines.

"Many sensitive sites are protected and from now on we are asking law enforcement to have an eye on the sky as well," said a police source.

The French government has now launched a one million Euro scheme to figure out ways of intercepting drones and finding their pilots.

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