Drones will have to stay further away from airports under new rules.

Airport exclusion zones will be extended to around 5km (3 miles) from the current one kilometre, with additional extensions at runway ends.

Drone users can be fined or even jailed if they fly a drone within these zones and will also be required to register from November this year.

Image: Drone owners will have to register from November

Police officers will also be given new powers to deal with drone pilots who break the law and the government will test counter-drone technology.

The measures were announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in parliament on Monday.

Passengers wait at the North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport
Image: Thousands of passengers were stranded at Gatwick

They come after drone sightings at Gatwick, the UK's second-busiest airport, led to the cancellation of 1,000 flights, ruining the holiday plans of 140,000 passengers just before Christmas.

"The disruption caused by drones to flights at Gatwick airport last month was deliberate, irresponsible and calculated, as well as illegal," Mr Grayling told parliament.

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Police searched dozens of potential launch sites near the airport, but were not able to locate the device.

Two people were arrested over the disruption and questioned in custody for 36 hours but they were released without charge.

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