Shoppers hoping to place a drone under the Christmas tree this year are being warned to take note of strict flying rules set in place by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Recent figures from the CAA show about 1.5 million drones could potentially be bought for the Christmas period, making it one of the hottest holiday gifts. But a reported quarter of the people planning to buy have no idea about the rules in place, including how to respect other people's privacy.

According to the CAA, drones cannot come within 150 ft of people or buildings and must remain below 400 ft in height. Assistant director of communications at CAA, Jonathan Nicholson, warned drones come with "a great amount of responsibility".

"Retailers are claiming that drones are going to be hugely popular this year but households are not aware of the rules and could be putting themselves and other people at risk," Nicholson said according to the Telegraph.

Anyone can buy a drone in a high-street shop. By the time the battery is charged, you could be flying it outside. They might be great fun, but they come with great responsibility."

"If you are a parent or grandparent buying a drone this Christmas, buy one from a quality retailer that gives you the right advice and guidance." There were also concerns surrounding privacy and some drones ability to film with a Go-Pro camera.

In November, the UK Government proposed making drone pilots sit a mandatory safety awareness test before flying. Safety tests could be required for pilots of drones weighing more than 250g. The most popular drones, such as the DJI Phantom range, weigh around four times this.

The proposed legislation comes as near-misses between drones and aircraft are on the up. There were 29 reported near-misses in 2015 and 71 in 2016. By 26 November, there had been 81 near-misses in 2017. Anyone found guilty of endangering an aircraft could face up to five years in jail.

As well as improving drone safety, the government wants to investigate regulating new uses for drones in 2018. These include using drones and their integrated video cameras on oil rigs, in construction, for organ transport and parcel deliveries.