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The mystery of the missing drone which grounded more than 1,000 flights at Gatwick Airport last week has turned police into a laughing stock as the stunned public was told there may not have been a flying nuisance at all.
Officers over the weekend said they are considering all options when investigating how a device was able to hover over the runway and prevent 14,000 passengers from flying.
Flights were suspended for more than 36 hours from Wednesday, causing Christmastravel chaos at the airport in Crawley, West Sussex. Planes cannot take off with a drone in airspace over the crash risk the devices pose.
But police said they are open to the option that snipers were called in to shoot down a drone that never existed. 
Twitter users were baffled by the claims, using hilarious memes to poke fun at police.
A parody account called Gatwick drone was set up which posted an image of army tanks outside an airport with the caption: ‘Come on lads, bit excessive.’
Another user said: ‘It's one of the most difficult decisions as a parent. At what age do you tell your kids there's no such thing as the Gatwick drone?’
Jon Gaunt added: ‘UK is laughing stock of world! This Govt couldn’t organise a Pee up in a brewery! Who’s heading investigation? Inspector Clouseau?’ 
Twitter mocked the police over the drone which may never have existed causing travel chaos
Twitter mocked the police over the drone which may never have existed causing travel chaos
The airport has now offered a £50,000 reward to catch the suspect who operated the device.
On Friday, Paul Gait, 47, and wife Elaine, 54, were arrested by Sussex Police and held for 36 hours before being released without charge.
Friends and family repeatedly insisted the pair were not the 'Eco-warriors' behind the attack and claimed officers under pressure to get results had 'hastily' arrested the wrong couple.
Mr Gait’s boss said his employee was at work all day and had police’ bothered to ask’ he could have given his alibi.
On Sunday, it was claimed a drone was found broken in pieces near the airport, However, Superintendent Jason Tingley said there was 'no available footage and they are relying on witness accounts.'
This comes despite witnesses providing MailOnline with video footage of drones hovering above the airspace last week.
The police were accused of incompetence by relatives of those arrested over the Gatwick drone investigation 
The police were accused of incompetence by relatives of those arrested over the Gatwick drone investigation 
The public made some hilarious suggestions over the capturing of the drone - although police were unsure whether or not there was a suspect to catch
The public made some hilarious suggestions over the capturing of the drone - although police were unsure whether or not there was a suspect to catch
Asked about speculation there was never a drone, he said: 'Of course, that's a possibility. We are working with human beings saying they have seen something.' 
It emerged yesterday that since drone tracking equipment arrived at Gatwick on Thursday, no unauthorised drone activity has actually been registered.
Det Ch Supt Tingley said the arrests made on Friday night were as a result of a tip-off from a member of the public.
'I'm completely satisfied the arrests were lawful, bearing in mind the burden of proof and likely suspicion at the time of arrest,' he said.
'Obviously we had to be sure prior to release, in terms of that investigation, they were no longer suspects. I won't apologise, but what I will say is we really do appreciate their co-operation and we have put a lot of effort and resources into supporting them when they were released from questioning.' 

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