A HUGE increase in the number of times police have been called out to deal with nuisance drones has led to calls for everyone who uses them to pass a test.

Since 2015 the amount of drone-related incidents dealt with by West Yorkshire Police has increased rapidly, with the figure jumping from 57 reports in 2015 to 135 last year, according to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

The reports cover everything from crime, to public safety, transport and antisocial behaviour.

Last year West Yorkshire Police attended 77 reports of a drone-related public safety incident compared to 40 in 2015.

Since West Yorkshire Police began recording the number of incidents involving a drone in 2009, there have been a total of 459 reports, with the vast majority of them coming since 2015 as the popularity of the devices began to grow.

READ MORE: Sharp rise in drone related 999 calls

Nick Ward, from Bingley, runs his own drone photography business and has worked for organisations, including Incommunities, to carry out surveys of Bradford buildings.

He started his Take Me Aerial Drone Photography business in August last year after he started flying drones for a hobby.

Mr Ward believes everyone who has a drone should get a licence or at least take a test before they have control of one.

“They should make everyone take a test because it would sort out the idiots,” said Mr Ward, who paid £185 for his licence and pays £60 a month for insurance.

“You should have to do some sort of test and they could be trained on the law.

“If I’m going out to do a job I will go into police stations nearby with my documents and tell them what I’m doing.

"People are always going to break the law and it's not like people with a drone aren't aware of it, some just don't care."

He has admitted to often being approached by suspicious onlookers who questioned why he was flying his drone close to their homes, but was quick to reassure them by showing off the drone's flightpath.

"I have been accused of flying over people's houses and had a lad accuse me of all sorts, but I can show them exactly where we have been.

"Some people will walk half a mile to come and have a go at me.

"If you are on the moors they will come up and ask what you are doing, but they don't understand.

"Everyone thinks we are filming and all the time or taking photographs, but I'm usually flying it for my own pleasure."

Last year we reported that police were called out almost 300 times in two years to deal with people flying drones across West Yorkshire.

Figures showed officers received 53 more 999 calls in 2017 compared to 2016 when the number stood at 114.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said they do not believe the area has a problem with drones, but they take every unauthorised use of drones seriously.

He added: "All incidents of suspected ‘near misses’ with aircraft and / or incidents in airspace are reported to THE CAA.

"We would urge all drone users to use them in a safe and appropriate manner in accordance with the DRONE CODE which suggests you always keep your drone in sight so you can see and avoid other things while flying.

"It also says that when you fly a drone in the UK it is your responsibility to be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe. It is illegal to fly a drone above 400ft (120m) or within 1km of an airport of airfield boundary.

"If people are caught breaking the law they will be prosecuted."

A spokesman for Leeds Bradford Airport added: "In conjunction with West Yorkshire Police the airport has a robust response and contingency plan in place to mitigate any unauthorised drone activity. Due to the sensitive nature of this subject we are unable to give exact details of the plan.

“Regarding day to day activity, we continue to have an excellent relationship with our local commercial drone operators which includes an effective booking process and operating procedures.

“We want everyone to be aware of the new rules to ensure they do not accidentally break the law, endangering passengers and facing penalties as a result. Drones have lots of potential but it is vital they are not misused."