£80,000 police blimp plan falls flat
Police bosses were feeling deflated today after an £80,000 surveillance balloon was scrapped after just a year.
The "secret" surveillance tool had to be axed by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) because it could not cope with the city's notoriously windy and rainy weather.
The blimp, which was unmanned, had a sophisticated camera mounted underneath that could swivel 360 degrees and film up to a mile away.
It was touted in the force as a "brand new airborne crime-fighting tool" bought for crowd monitoring, supporting police operations and flown above hotspot areas to target specific crimes.
Five staff were specially trained to monitor footage from the blimp and It was first used at last summer's massive Oasis gigs at Heaton Park in the city.
But after being used only a few times it was found the blimp's outer skin kept ripping and tearing in rain or windy weather.
It has now been scrapped and sold at a loss - for around £20,000.
Chief Superintendent Dave Anthony of GMPs Specialist Operations Branch, said: "We experienced a number of technical and other problems with the blimp and it was decided, especially in the current climate, that it was neither cost effective nor operationally viable to maintain.
"We have been able to recycle various parts of the blimp that have been put to operational use while the vehicle itself has been sold."
James Foley 'beheaded': PM cuts holiday short for emergency meeting on British response to latest Isis atrocity
Michael Brown shooting: Police shoot and kill second young black man near Ferguson
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence