Chard man shone laser pen at police helicopter

A man shone a laser pen into the cockpit of a low-flying police helicopter "to see if it would reach", a court heard.

Marc Webster "distracted and disorientated" the pilot with the laser pen he had confiscated from his son.

The pilot was dazzled by the green light for more than five minutes as it flew over Chard, Somerset.

Webster, 45, of Chard, was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years at Taunton Crown Court.

The court heard heroin user Webster had taken the anaesthetic ketamine before shining the light at the Avon and Somerset Police helicopter.

The pilot was able to land and directed the two other officers on board to Webster's house.

The court heard Webster had been ill after taking "contaminated drugs", when police came to his house on Furnham Road in the early hours of 30 August.

He admitted that he had shone the light, but had not thought the beam was strong enough to reach the aircraft.

'Pointless toys'

He pleaded guilty to recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, before magistrates in Yeovil last month.

The court heard Webster was the sole carer for his 16-year-old son.

Defending Webster, Rebecca Bradberry, said: "He could not have been more admitting of this offence.

"He didn't think he had hit the helicopter because it was so far away."

Sentencing him, Recorder Michael Parroy QC said he escaped being jailed by "the thinnest skin of your teeth".

"For all you know it could have been seeking to collect a seriously ill person and take them to hospital," he said.

"It is absurd that these completely pointless toys are used in order to distract and disable helicopters which are engaged in tasks of serious public good."

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