STUNNING drone footage shot over the city centre and posted on Facebook to promote a new restaurant has sparked a row after the pilot was accused of breaking almost every rule in the book.
The unmanned aerial vehicle flies high above River Ness taking in iconic landmarks before swooping down Tomnahurich Street past Tesco Metro and on to the recently-opened Pepperoni Speciale, swirling around the eatery at eye-level.
A Facebook user who was among the three minute film’s 13,000 viewers left a comment of "Wow! Cool vid!".
But the pin-sharp footage has come under criticism from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and sparked a safety message from Police Scotland.
"They are clearly flying over busy roads and they should not be doing that because it is dangerous activity,’ said Richard Taylor from the CAA.
"The rules clearly say you are not allowed to fly over congested areas, which accounts for most towns and city centres, and you are not allowed to fly within 50m of vehicles, people or buildings or use it for marketing purposes without commercial permission from us."
The restaurant’s manager Paulina Pawlak said she had not known there were rules to adhere to, she was just trying to make a fun advert.
Drone use is growing at a rapid rate in the UK with many people spending thousands of pounds on courses so that they can do it professionally.
Others just buy drones and do not follow basic safety rules.
The Inverness Courier broke a story last month about a drone flier who managed to land his £300 remotely-controlled aircraft on the Royal Navy’s most advanced warship completely unchallenged while it was docked in Cromarty.
Those flouting the rules could be jailed or fined.
But it is difficult for the police to take action unless the pilot is caught in the act or confesses afterwards.
The drone footage produced by Pepperoni Speciale was reported to Police Scotland who issued a safety message urging anyone who plans to use a drone, whether it is for recreational or commercial purposes, to be aware of the CAA’s legislation.
A spokesman said: "As a pilot you are responsible for each flight and failure to fly responsibly could lead to action being taken."
A council spokeswoman added: "Drone operators require the permission of the landowner where they intend to take off and land their drone in any flight and it is not clear from this footage where the drone took off from.
"We are not aware of permission being sought to take off from council land for the purposes of making this video footage."
Ms Pawlak said she was very sorry for any problems she may have caused.
"As an excuse all I can say is none of us were informed there were rules around using drones," she said.
"Before we used ours we checked YouTube and spotted a few different videos from around Inverness city.
"And about a week before there was some flying and we thought it would be a great advert for our business to do the same.
"If any of us knew it would be such a problem we wouldn’t have done it, we’d never want to break any rules or cause a problem.
"I can only apologise for any inconvenience it causes and promise we will check the guidelines from the Civil Aviation Authority to have a knowledge about it so it won’t happen again."