Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Pilot dazzler avoids being jailed

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The pilot was forced to turn sharply to avoid a crash

A man who shone a laser pen at a police helicopter, dazzling the pilot, has received a suspended sentence.

Glen Porter, 20, of St Augustine's Road, Ipswich, admitted using the laser pen from an Ipswich nightclub car park.

The town's crown court heard how the pilot, who was searching for a missing child, had to take a sharp turn because of a "green and blinding light".

Porter, who had admitted endangering an aircraft, received a 20-week jail term, suspended for 18 months.

Cannabis warning

The court heard Porter, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, had smoked cannabis shortly before the offence on 27 April and had been in hospital four times for a mental health problem brought on by use of the drug.

Judge John Devaux said: "It's quite plain what the consequences of this could have been, both to the occupant or occupants of the helicopter and to those on the ground."

He said Porter, who bought the pen on internet auction site eBay, had avoided being jailed immediately because the court did not want to "interfere" with his rehabilitation.

But the judge warned him the sentence would be enforced if he was caught in possession of a laser pen or cannabis within the next 18 months.

Ebay has since stopped selling certain types of laser pen.


SEE ALSO
Youths, 12, 'lasered helicopter'
10 Oct 08 |  North East/N Isles
Jail for helicopter laser prank
26 Jun 08 |  Merseyside

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