Laser shone at helicopter

14 February 2011, 15:27 | Updated: 1 March 2011, 16:15

Two men who shone a green laser at the Thames Valley Police helicopter in Milton Keynes have received fines after admitting a charge of endangering an aircraft.

The helicopter, from the Chiltern Air Support Unit’s base at RAF Henlow, was helping to search for a vehicle following an attempted burglary on 3 January, when a laser was shone at it at about 4.40pm.

The helicopter crew directed officers on the ground to a house in Heelands where two men were arrested.

Shannon Nunzio De Maio, aged 23, of North Ninth Street, and Kishan Chudasama, aged 21, of Wealdstone Place, Springfield, both admitted a charge of directing or shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot and were sentenced at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court on Friday (11/2).

Both men received a £120 fine and were each ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Magistrates also issued a destruction order for the laser pen used in the incident.

Doug Mackay, Chiltern Air Support Unit Executive Officer, said: “Shining a laser at an aircraft will illuminate the cockpit, while the intensity of the beam could potentially damage the eyesight of those inside. In the worst case scenario it could disable the pilot and result in the aircraft crashing.

“However, we have the tactics to negate the effects of the laser, as well as the technology to catch the people who carry out these acts, who when caught, face the prospect of a prison sentence.”