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Police in the UK are now seeing incidents were burglars are scoping out potential targets using off-the-shelf consumer drones.

Suffolk Constabulary has confirmed that there were 16 incidents involving the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) between January 2014 and March 2015.

In 10 of the incidents, the police were called to investigate by civilians who had seen the drones flying, and in one case, a UAV was flown around a residential property in September 2014, allegedly to identify it as a potential burglary target, although no one was charged for this incident.

Only one person was charged in total, for an incident where the individual got into an altercation with the owner of a drone after reporting seeing it flying in January 2015.

Over the last two years, the consumer market for drones has begun to grow as drones have become increasingly smaller. It is now easy to buy an off-the-shelf UAV that weighs between 7.5kg to 20kg and comes equipped with a sophisticated camera and remote-controlled software.

While drone guidelines set out by the CAA state that drones must be flown at least 50m away from people, buildings and airports, and must not fly any higher than 400ft or out of the line of sight of the drone’s pilot, the fact remains that this is very difficult to police, particularly in quieter rural areas outside the city.

At the SkyTech 2015 drone conference in April, the CAA told IBTimes UK that it cannot enforce drone legislation on its own, and needs other parts of the government to step in and do their part, such as the Department of Transport and the police.

The National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters announced at a conference in April that the police will soon be taking responsibility for the illegal or irresponsible use of drones away from the CAA.