Kent

Laser pen hampers lifeboat rescue search in Herne Bay

RNLI Whitstable Image copyright RNLI
Image caption The crew were searching for a kayaker last seen off Hampton Pier, Herne Bay

A search for a missing kayaker was hampered by a laser pen shone at the lifeboat crew from the shore, the RNLI has said.

The lifeboat was almost a mile offshore between Swalecliffe and Hampton, Kent, at 20:30 BST on Saturday when it was "targeted by a blinding green light".

In spite of this, it found the missing 26-year-old man half a mile from Herne Bay pier, paddling towards the shore.

Lifeboat helmsman Dave Parry said the search effectiveness was "hampered".

Whitstable Lifeboat operations manager Mike Judge said: "The lifeboat and crew had been tasked to search for the kayaker in the dark up to two miles offshore.

"To shine a laser light into anyone's eyes is a dangerous thing, but to shine such a light onto a crew at sea in the dark is not only dangerous for the crew but also to the person for whom they are searching.

"This act was totally irresponsible," he said.

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