Merseyside Police’s unmanned aerial system (UAS) has been grounded after concerns over flying the vehicle without a licence from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

A new change in a rule effected from 1 January 2010 required that the CAA be consulted for any use of UAS that fly upto 400ft at 30mph, according to the BBC.

In addition, all unmanned aircraft have to be licensed to conduct aerial surveillance work and CAA permission is needed to fly within 164ft of people and within 492ft of buildings.

Merseyside Police have recently acquired the £40,000 remote control helicopter fitted with CCTV and were unaware of the need for a licence.

A Merseyside Police spokesman was quoted by BBC as saying that all UAS flights for the force have been suspended until the appropriate licence has been granted.

The new drone had been used last week to catch a car thief in thick fog.