Blackburn teenager admits shining laser into cockpit of police helicopter
1:00pm Saturday 11th August 2012 in News
A TEENAGER put lives at risk when he shone a laser light into the cockpit of a police helicopter.
But the hunter became the hunted after the pilot took evasive action and then tracked the car from which the light was shone until officers on the ground could move in and make an arrest.
Hammaad Arif, 18, of Lammack Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to directing a light at an aircraft so as to dazzle or distract the pilot. He was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report and will be sentenced on August 20.
Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said the offence could carry up to five years in prison at the Crown Court.
At 1.35 am on July 21 the police helicopter was deployed over Blackburn when the cockpit was suddenly illuminated by a bright green light.
“The pilot took evasive action, banking away from the light,” said Miss Allan. “Once he achieved a safe distance he began to track the car from which the light had been shone.”
Arif was one of a number of people in the car and admitted being responsible for shining the laser torch.
“The lives of the people on board the helicopter and those of people on the ground were put at risk,” said Miss Allan. “The defendant deliberately targeted the helicopter, creating a very dangerous situation.”
Gareth Price, defending, said his client was fully aware of the seriousness of what he had done.
“At the time he had no appreciation of the real seriousness of the situation and the sort of offence he was committing,” said Mr Price. “Fortunately the pilot very skilfully put the helicopter in a position of safety before they followed the car.”
Ordering a pre-sentence report the chairman of the magistrates said lives had been put in danger by Arif’s actions.
“Luckily there wasn’t an accident but you created a situation which could have resulted in death to the people on the aircraft and people on the ground,” said the chairman.