Original article - LincolnshireLive
New police spies in the sky could be on its way as Lincolnshire Police consider a fleet of hi-tech drones.
The Sky Mantis Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which has a wingspan of over four feet and costs up to £20,000 apiece was demonstrated at Lincolnshire Police headquarters last week.
It has been billed as something that can identify individuals and car registrations from 300 metres away, it can also track individuals and vehicles from over a kilometre away.
The UAV, which can hover up to 100 metres high for 24 hours was put through its paces to show why its leaves the current generation of police drones standing.
Other features of the Sky Mantis include the ability to fly in all weathers and up to 40 knot winds.
The Sky Mantis has a dual 30 X zoom camera and thermal imaging, the current crop of drones can only fly with one or the other.
This allows the UAV to monitor the progress of fires, chase suspects or find missing people, including in the dark or camouflaged against the environment.
Mike Dewhirst, the CEO of Evolve Dynamics, the Surrey based drone company selling the Sky Mantis said: “They are the new generation of drones I suppose.
“It offers a unique perspective on the world and can have hours of endurance.
“The Sky Mantis can operate in torrential rains and incredibly strong winds, it’s unique because of its dual camera and it can be put on a tether which feeds it data and electricity.
"What's more the tether can be released remotely.
"It then has a further 30 minutes flying time, like the police's current drone, should they wish to investigate something."
Special Sgt Kevin Taylor said: "Lincolnshire Police are currently evaluating a number of UAV for various manufacturers with a view to expanding the number of fully trained remote pilots while also looking to benefit from the emerging advances in technology."
The police drone team currently however have about 300 call-outs a year.
During one incident last year dramatic footage captured the moment police used a drone to capture alleged deer poachers hiding in a wood.
The suspected poachers could be seen in their car who police claim were trying to hide from them in the pitch black in Beckingham near Gainsborough on Friday, October 19.
However, police were able to track them down using thermal technology.
The drone went up into the sky and picked out the alleged poachers from their heat which allowed the officers on foot to be directed straight to them.
After circling the edge, officers found them with the help of police dogs in just minutes.