A UNMANNED British military drone crashed near Aberporth last year after running into problems when coming in to land at its West Wales Airport base.

The Ministry of Defence has said that the £6m Watchkeeper drone came down in trees after the pilot cut power to the engine.

A report into the crash, revealed following a Freedom of Information request from the BBC, said the drone "landed long" of its touchdown point, before veering to the right.

The system computer failed to register it had landed so "auto-aborted as it approached the end of the runway". Its engine then powered up and the drone "climbed away", said the BBC.

When it was 40ft above the ground, the pilot cut the engine. The report concluded "the pressing of the engine cut was the cause of the accident".

"Had no action been taken by the crew the AV (aerial vehicle) would have completed its automatic go-around, from which it could have been commanded to conduct a further approach," the report said.

The crash, one of several to have been reported, led to concerns among local residents over the safety of the drones and the temporary grounding of the entire Watchkeeper fleet while the MoD carried out an inquiry.

The Watchkeeper drones - which have a length of 6.50m, a wingspan of 10.95m and an overall height of 2.18m - provide intelligence-gathering and surveillance for the British Army.

An MoD spokesman said: “The MOD and Thales (contractors) acknowledge the findings of the Watchkeeper investigations. Actions have already been taken to address issues identified in the reports and we are considering all of the recommendations.”