DRONES could be banned from nearly all of Southend and Rochford as no-fly zones will be extended next month.

As of March 13, it will be illegal to fly a drone within three miles of an airport, an extension to the existing 0.6 mile exclusion zone.

The government also said it wants police to have new stop and search powers to tackle drone misuse.

This means that drone users will not be able to fly them around a significant portion of Southend and Rochford which surrounds Southend Airport.

The new regulations follow disruption at Gatwick Airport in December, which was shut for more than a day after drone sightings near the runway.

It affected more than 1,000 flights and approximately 140,000 passengers.

Despite improvement measure put in place, airports continue to see illegal flights near their perimeters.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the BBC: "The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act.

"We're now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe.

"Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment."

The government also plans to introduce new stop and search powers, which would apply to people suspected of using drones maliciously nears airports.

They will be included in the government's new Drones Bill, and would also allow police to access electronic data stored on a drone.