Mystery Planes Circle London

Andy Thornley
By Andy Thornley Last edited 47 months ago
Mystery Planes Circle London
This plane, linked to the Met by the Telegraph, was recorded circling Lewisham yesterday.
This plane, linked to the Met by the Telegraph, was recorded circling Lewisham yesterday.
The plane circles Lewisham Shopping Centre. Courtesy of Flight Radar 24
The plane circles Lewisham Shopping Centre. Courtesy of Flight Radar 24
The second plane - courtesy of Flight Radar 24
The second plane - courtesy of Flight Radar 24

Two mysterious planes with no call-signs were spotted circling parts of London yesterday, prompting suggestions that the Metropolitan Police have been eavesdropping on mobile phone calls.

In 2011, the Telegraph reported that one of the aircraft, a Cessna F406 Caravan II with the registration G-BVJT which was seen circling Lewisham, was linked to a Met operation to intercept mobile phone calls. This has led to users of an aviation forum and others speculating that the same aircraft was up to its old tricks once again. The Met has since denied that this was the case.

The second plane, a Piper PA-31 with the registration G-UMMI – again with no call-sign, was seen circling over Romford later yesterday afternoon before heading to Shepherd’s Bush and performing a similar circular pattern. As of yet, this has not been linked to the Met. Both planes were circling at around 10,000ft for several hours.

The reporting of these mysterious planes comes as emergency legislation – which some have labelled a ‘Snooper's Charter’ — is rushed through the Commons. The Communications Data Bill forces internet service providers and phone operators to store information about customer activity for 12 months at a time. The legislation follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice that the current arrangement was a violation of citizens’ privacy. The emergency bill, which has cross-party support, is the Government’s means of ensuring that the powers already in place can continue to be used in future.

Image of plane G-BVJT used under creative commons licence from Alec Wilson.

Last Updated 23 July 2014


I really don't see the point of using airplanes to eavesdrop on mobile comms. The same signals can be picked up from the ground just as easily — if not more, since those towers are mostly aimed at people on the ground. Plus, G-BVJT seems to have been a rental jet, at least until 2012, according to its flight plans (not sure in this case a call sign is necessary to be displayed on the fuselage, registration should be enough for identification).

But yeah, it's not like I expect the Telegraph to be a reputable source anyways…


This seems to have been going on for a while. Here's one I spotted back in May...


G-BVJT is regestered to "Nor Leasing" - quite obviously a gov op, no civilian aircraft would be permitted to fly like that. Low flying over urban areas / near airports is highly regulated.

G-UMMI is regestered to , a company run by ex-RAF pilots. Has a sensor fitted much like those on military drones: . Seen frequently doing loops over urban areas. Known to work with government agencies.


As well as these flying low, an Islander can very often be heard flying fairly high over the suburbs at weekends. This is probably from RAF Northolt and has also been alleged to be an eavesdropping aircraft.


2008 Independent article: Unmanned spy planes to police Britain



I read your article on this unmarked aircraft, flying around in circles (over London) at 10,000 feet.

However, this is just the tip of the ice burg.

Below is an E-Mail I sent some time ago to various newspapers/individuals.

To set the record straight. These unmarked aircraft/helicopters are not being used by the police, but the intelligence services.

Even the police must have markings on all their air vehicles.

Police are just being used as a front in this mysterious saga! And, the American government are funding most of these unmarked aircraft/helicopters.

E-MAIL Regarding Unmarked Aircraft/Helicopters

I wonder if you have been aware/interested in unmarked aircraft/helicopters (mentioned below), which are being used as spy planes to eavesdrop on personal mobile phone conversations & the Internet?

It seems to me, no one has the tenacity or courage to investigate why these commercial passenger type planes, which are being used as spy/surveillance aircraft, have been flying around in circles for 11 years now.

The usual replies I get is to write & complain to the CAA/NATS & MOD. However, has I have continuously pointed out....until I'm blue in the face, these aircraft belong to the military, and are therefore not the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority nor the National Air Traffic System.......including the Ministry Of Defence, who have been deliberately ignoring my E-Mails!

It seems that these aircraft, which just have these bogus flags on their tail fins, I have been pointing out for years, are not commercal passenger aircraft, going into land at Heathrow, they are being used as surveillance/spy aircraft....why?

No one in authority, is either aware of this, or they just don't bother trying to find out why so many residents are constantly being woken up 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, by these huge low flying aircraft, that begin flying from 6:00am until 11:00pm at night, that's 18 hours every day..............365 days a year, around Tabard Gardens Estate, London, SE1!

I could perfectly understand if these aircraft were genuine passenger type aircraft going into land at Heathrow, Stanstead or Gatwick. These aircraft are surveillance/spy planes that have been coming from either Farnborough or Manchester..

I have just written again to Southwark Council, The Surveillance Commissioner& Simon Hughes MP for Southwark/Bermondsey about this problem, for more times than I can remember.............However, I am not holding my breath, for a response to this matter.

However, a 2011 Telegraph article, only mentions the 3 aircraft that a police officer would admit to, each costing £3 million pounds to buy, including the overall operating costs to the British Tax payers which have never been made public.

What the Telegraph article fails to mention is all the other unmarked aircraft/helicopters (mentioned above) that I have been writing/complaining about for nearly 10 years now!

I have just written, once more to Simon Hughes MP, to try and get a proper investigation/enquiry into this matter, underway.......chance, would be a fine thing though...wouldn't you agree?

Demetrius Skortou


G-UMMI & G-BFIB both seem to be using UK military hex addresses now which lends weight to their use NOT being police


Over Liverpool today

Sophia Reginald Bob Chambers

It's happening again today...I've heard it circling my house in SE13 around 5 times now and it's very disturbing. Can someone look into this?