Got a drone? Don't fly it near a prison unless you fancy finding yourself in one

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Drone pilots caught flying or even possessing a drone near prisons and juvenile detention centres will face up to two years in prison under laws passed by the NSW government on Monday.

The amendments to the Crimes (Administration Sentences) Act 1999 and the Children (Detention Centres Act) 1987 are the result of a number of incidents involving drones around the country.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott said in a release that more than 60 drones have been sighted or discovered in and around prisons since January 2014, highlighting their potential use for inappropriate and illegal purposes. 

“NSW faces security challenges that continue to evolve, particularly in response to new technologies,” Mr Elliott said.

In October last year, CCTV cameras at the Lithgow Correctional Centre captured images of a drone believed to have been used to smuggle steroids.

According to the release, the new powers to tackle the use of drones will bolster the efforts of Corrective Services to remove contraband from prisons. These are in addition to phone jamming technology, scanning technology and increased cell searches.

According to iTnews, the government has not clarified what being 'near' a prison means, however a spokesperson from Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) told the media outlet the ban only covers drones flying up to 400 feet above the ground around prisons.

Flying a drone above 400 feet would fall under Commonwealth offences administered by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the spokesperson said.

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