PEOPLE wishing to fly drones have been urged to go to their local model aircraft club to learn how to do it safely and properly.

The advice comes as the number of complaints about the unmanned flying devices has soared.

In Lancashire the number of reports to police has surged from seven to 159 in three year, a 22-fold increase.

Blackburn and District Model Aircraft Club secretary Kevin Watson said: “The sport of model flying has undergone some significant changes over the last few years, many of them technology based.

“Types of aircraft that were previously only within the remit of the experienced and resourceful home builder, are now practical ‘off the shelf’ proposition.

“Any remotely piloted unmanned aircraft is a drone.

“Multi-rotor craft are hugely popular by both amateur and professional users.

“It is vital users is aware of their legal obligations.

“The British Model Flying Association, and affiliated model clubs like Blackburn, are able to inform, guide, insure, teach and test amateur recreational model pilots.

“Before flying a drone, you should make sure you’ve read the latest legal requirements.

“Our long-established club is able to guide the novice on all aspects of model flying.

“We would urge local ‘drone’ pilots to come and talk us and tap in to our wealth of experience.

“We have instructors and examiners available to help pilots achieve high levels of competency and proficiency.”

New regulations relating to how and where to fly drones came into force recently but authorities are concerned that many people who own them are unaware of the changes and the consequences of breaking the rules.