Police say the drone attack that disrupted flights at Gatwick Airport for 33 hours last December may have been carried out by an insider at the airport.

Sussex Police said the possibility that an insider was involved was “credible”, while Gatwick’s chief operating officer said the attacker appeared to have knowledge of airport procedures.

“It was clear that the drone operators had a link into what was going on at the airport,” said Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s chief operating officer, who oversaw the facility’s response to the incident.

He said the attacker could apparently see what was happening on the runway, or was eavesdropping on the airport’s radio or internet communications.

The drone used was “specifically selected” as one that could not be seen by the DJI Aeroscope drone-detection equipment Gatwick was testing at the time, Woodroofe told the BBC’s Panorama programme, in his first report since the incident.

Sussex Police said it expects its inquiry to take “some months” to complete.

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