A SNP MP is calling for Police Scotland to consider training birds of prey to bring down drones being flown illegally.

The intervention from Dunfermline and West MP Douglas Chapman comes a week after police in the Netherlands revealed they have trained eagles to “attack” unwanted drones and bring them to the ground.

Chapman said innovative ways to intercept the small flying devices, which were developed for military use but can cost as little as £20 and became a popular present at Christmas, are required following several recent incidents in which they posed a risk to public safety.

Chapman, who sits on the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: “As the number of drones rise, so will the number of incidents. The potential of one of them going out of control poses a real risk to people.

“Drones can be used for criminal purposes, as well as present a danger to those on the ground, such as at a large public gathering.

“It is possible that in the wrong hands they can be easily used to present a risk to national security.”

Chapman is to raise the issue with fellow members of the Defence Select Committee to see if eagles can be trained to assist police officers.

He added: “Training eagles to bring drones down safely is something Police Scotland could look at. Their Dutch counterparts seem to be doing interesting work in this area, and I think it is something the force should consider.”

Dutch police recently published details of the raptor project on its website, including a video of a bird of prey taking down a drone.

Mark Wiebe, innovation manager of the Dutch Police’s National Unit, said: “The bird sees the drone as prey and takes it to a safe area, a place where he is not threatened by other birds or humans.”

He added: “We had one situation recently in Holland where an air ambulance could not safely land because someone nearby was flying a drone.”

Guidelines from the Civil Aviation Authority say that drones must be flown within sight, at least 50 metres away from a person, vehicle or building, and at least 150 metres away from a congested area. In addition drones weighing more than 7kg require a special licence.

Those who break these rules can face criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.

Police Scotland has issued warnings to drone users and last year one of the devices collided with the Wallace Monument in Stirling, damaging the historic landmark.

Counter-terrorism experts have also warned passenger jets are being put at risk from drones being flown too close to airports.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “The use of drones is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority, there are strict rules in place for using them. It is essential they are used responsibly so as not to cause alarm or injury to other members of the public. If you need information about the rules and regulations then contact the Civil Aviation Authority or visit their website.”