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2 drones were found near Gatwick Airport which were not involved in the closure

British police said on Saturday that two unmanned aircraft found near London Gatwick Airport were not involved in a disturbance that closed a busy airport just days before Christmas.

Sussex Police Chief Giles York told BBC Radio that police had searched 26 potential launch sites near the airport but did not believe they had found unmanned aircraft seen near the runway on December 19 and 20.

York said he was "very confident that there were unmanned aircraft flying during the airport period closed."

A senior detective said last week that it was possible the drone had not flown over the airport last week, spreading confusion, but police later insisted that the drone sightings were genuine.

The airport closure caused more than 100,000 people to be stranded or delayed in disruptions related to the worst drones at the international airport.

No one was found responsible despite the spread of military assets to track and prevent drone flights.

Two people – Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk – who lived just minutes from Gatwick Airport were arrested on suspicion of using criminal drones but were released two days later when police said they were no longer suspects.

After being released, Gait complained about police actions – and the newspaper that published the couple's front page photos. York used his radio interview to apologize for the trouble he caused, although he said the arrest was legal.

"I am truly sorry for what he went through, but the reason why we are holding it back is so that we can eliminate everything at the first level," York said.

The motive for drone intrusion is still unclear

Police earlier revealed that a damaged unmanned aircraft had been found near the airfield and was being tested for DNA, fingerprints and other clues.

The motive for drone intrusion is unclear. Officials said there was no indication the incident was "related to terror."

Officials have not revealed what military equipment was placed.

British officials say they can deploy equipment at other British airports. It is not clear whether counter-drone measures have been increased at other major British airports.

Gatwick Airport, the second largest airport in the United Kingdom with a number of passengers, is located about 45 kilometers south of London. It handles around 43 million travelers per year.

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