Police have issued their strongest warning yet to Extinction Rebellion activists, saying they could face life in jail ahead of a potential drone protest at Heathrow Airport next week.
The climate change campaign group has vowed to shut down Heathrow on Tuesday unless plans to expand the airport are scrapped.
Protesters are also planning a further 10 days of disruption in July.
Extinction Rebellion previously said it has not made a final decision on whether to press ahead with the use of drones at Heathrow this summer.
Met Police chiefs today issued a stark warning to protesters planning to try and disrupt the airport’s operations.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, said: “There is speculation that protestors will use drones in order to disrupt business at Heathrow. I want to be absolutely clear that anyone caught illegally using a drone can expect to be dealt with in line with the law.
“If flown into the path of an aircraft, a drone has the potential to cause great harm to those on board. Affecting the safety of aircraft passengers is very different to blocking roads around London, and should this happen, the consequences will reflect the severity of the offence. Endangering the safety of an aircraft can result in a life sentence.”
Mr Taylor said that “specialist officers from across the Met” would be deployed to counter the protest.