Green laser was 'shone into cockpit' of police helicopter as it searched for a vulnerable pensioner with dementia
A man who dazzled a police pilot when he shone a laser into a helicopter has been fined by magistrates.
Preston dad Noel Goodwin aimed a laser pen at the aircraft which was captured on interior footage.
Emergency services were contacted on Monday at around 4.15pm after a 73-year old woman, who suffers from dementia, went missing from her Penwortham care home.
Officers launched a search of the area using patrols.
At around 9.09pm the police search helicopter was conducting a search over the Preston, Preston Magistrates’ Court heard, when the crew spotted a green laser being persistently pointed into the helicopter and putting the crew and aircraft in danger.
Ground patrols were directed to Goodwin’s home address on Tees Street, Preston, where he was arrested.
The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to a charge of shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot, an offence under the Air Navigation Order 2016.
The case comes as new laws come into force tackling the pointing of lasers at aircraft, but is understood to predate the legislation.
The laws mean people who target transport operators with laser devices could be jailed for up to five years.
In 2016, the Civil Aviation Authority received reports of 1,258 laser incidents across the country.
Goodwin, who did not wish to speak to the Post, avoided jail as he was charged under a law brought into force in 2010.
He was given a £110 fine, a £30 surcharge and £85 costs and ordered the laser pen to be seized.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We take acts like this extremely seriously and for anyone considering such reckless and dangerous acts the consequences can be severe.
Thankfully on this occasion no-one was hurt.”
The missing woman was found by a member of public.
There have been a series of similar incidents in the county.
In October 2017 a Fylde teenager was arrested for shining a laser at a police helicopter.