A MAN has been jailed for deliberately shining a laser pen towards the cockpit of a low-flying police helicopter.
Daniel Checkley, 21, was sentenced to four months behind bars at St Helens Magistrates’ Court last week after he admitted shining a green laser beam at one of the region’s police helicopters on the night of October 22.
Luckily, the pilot, who was hovering above Newton-le-Willows as part of a high-visibility surveillance operation, managed to manoevre the aircraft out of harm’s way before pinpointing the defendant’s address to patrols on the ground.
Checkley, of Oak Avenue, Newton-le-Willows, was arrested at his home address a short time later.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to the single charge of acting “recklessly or negligently in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft” and was ordered to forfeit the laser pen so it could be destroyed by police.
In imposing a custodial sentence, justices pointed to the seriousness of the offence, which was deemed to have not only endangered the life of the two-strong aircraft crew, but also members of the public living in the area.
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, said: “Shining a laser at an aircraft in flight poses a serious risk to the safety of passengers and crew.”