Police launch probe after drone thought to have been used by sly punters crashes during Welsh Grand National meet

WELSH police have launched a probe after a drone – thought to be used by sly punters – crashed at Chepstow on Saturday.

The drone came down in parkland alongside the racecourse just after the Bryony Frost-ridden Pozo Emery had won the opener on Welsh Grand National day.

There have been increasing concerns in recent years among British racing chiefs about the use of drones at racecourses.

Inventive punters are believed to be gaining an edge in in-running markets by using live pictures from the drones.

Huge sums can be bet in-running on Betfair, with tens of thousands traded during Saturday's Welsh National, meaning a lucrative advantage can be gained with faster pictures.

The images broadcast by the likes of ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing operate on a delay of up to 10 seconds – much slower than those coming from a live drone feed.

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A spokesperson for Gwent Police said: "We are in touch with the racecourse about an incident involving a drone and enquiries are ongoing."

It is understood no horses or jockeys were in danger when the device crashed.

And it isn't the first incident of a drone sighting and a major meeting.

Ascot, Leicester and Newbury have all reported drones flying above the action during a race, which is not allowed.

There has been a drone overhead at Haydock races on more than one occasion, with the repeat offender believed to fly the device from a white van parked nearby.

A drone was also spotted on the day racing resumed at Newcastle on June 1 after the Covid-19 shutdown.

The pilot was parked on land adjacent to the track and he was confronted by racecourse staff mid-way through the card, after which the drone disappeared.

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