Leicester

Neighbours jailed for shining laser pen at police helicopter

Leicestershire Police helicopter Image copyright PA
Image caption The judge said shining a laser pen at a helicopter causes life-threatening danger to the pilot and members of the public

Two neighbours who shone a laser pen into the cockpit of a police helicopter during a search for a missing person have been jailed.

Martin Jayes and Oktawain Plaskiewicz took turns to shine the light at the helicopter as it circled over Leicester, causing the search to be halted.

Jayes, 46, who was drunk at the time, was jailed for eight months.

Plaskiewicz, 22, was jailed for six months.

Judge Adrienne Lucking QC told the men that such actions cause "very grave risks".

She said: "Actions with a laser like this cause life-threatening danger to the pilot and members of the public on the ground."

How dangerous are lasers to planes?

The helicopter was circling over Western Park when both men, of Bateman Road, New Parks, targeted it at about 23:00 GMT on 9 March.

They were arrested and pleaded guilty to recklessly or negligently endangering the safety of an aircraft and those travelling within it.

Leicester Crown Court heard that Jayes, a father-of-six, had 71 previous criminal offences on his record.

Philip Gibbs, mitigating for Plaskiewicz, said his client worked 60-70 hours a week to provide for his partner, her nine-year-old son and a two-week-old baby.

He said: "He is mortified by what he has done and the potential consequences for others."

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