Britain on Wednesday expanded the no-fly zones around airports in response to a spate of drone sightings that temporarily shut down some of London's biggest hubs. The new law extends the radius around which drone flights are not permitted to five kilometres (three miles) from one kilometre.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said penalties will range "from significant fines to a life sentence". Existing rules ban all drone flights above 122 metres (400 feet) and within 50 metres of buildings and people.
Several reports of drone sightings at London's Gatwick airport during the Christmas holiday season sparked the suspension of around 1,000 flights. Drones were also spotted over the past few weeks around London's Heathrow and Dublin Airport in Scotland.
Those shut down only briefly to conduct security checks. Britain's Press Association news agency reported that there were 125 near-misses recorded between drones and aeroplanes last year. It said that just six incidents were recorded in 2014.
(With inputs from agencies.)