Lincolnshire Police have announced a new hi-tech drone will be deployed as part of a new drive to tackle rural crime.
The unmanned aerial vehicle, which will cost around £16,000 to get up and running, will be trialled before a force wide roll-out set for August.
The project is part of a new Rural Community Safety Plan developed by the force in response to calls from Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
The first drone will arrive next week and will undergo a series of operational tests to enable the force to assess how many drones will be needed to ensure full coverage of the county.
Equipped with a thermal imaging camera, the drone can be used in a range of operations and will give officers the ability to capture still or video images on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas, such as woodland or coastline.
It will be able to locate missing people much more quickly than officers on foot and should prove invaluable in combating rural and wildlife crime.
It could even be used during a firearm incident, allowing officers to gain vital information quickly and safely and allow the force to respond effectively at the scene.
It will also be available to help other emergency services.
Mr Jones said: “Drones will give our force new capabilities in combating crime and protecting our communities.
“Since taking office I have been determined to equip the force with the best available kit to help them keep all our communities safe.
“This is an exciting step on that journey but that drive will continue.”
Project leader Insp Ed Delderfield, said: “This is an exciting development and we are looking forward to testing the equipment.
“The potential is fantastic and we plan to expand the number of vehicles once we know how many are required to ensure coverage of the county.”
Insp Delderfield will be taking the drone to a number of county shows over the summer so the public can see it and ask questions about it.