Dad shone laser pen at helicopter

TARGET: The police helicopter
TARGET: The police helicopter

A DAD shone a laser pen at the West Yorkshire Police helicopter as it was helping to investigate a break-in at a Lupset school.

Leeds Crown Court heard Christopher Grayston, 31, shone the pen into the cockpit of the helicopter as it hovered above Snapethorpe Primary School following reports of intruders at the school on September 8.

Prosecutor Shamaila Qureshi said the aircraft had been conducting area search when a green laser was shone at the aircraft, distracting the pilot.

Thermal imaging and mapping equipment on board the helicopter was then used to identify where the light was coming from. They managed to establish that it was coming from a doorway of a house on nearby Lindsay Avenue.

Police on the ground went to the address and spoke to Grayston. He showed an officer the laser pen, which had a sticker on it marked “danger”.

The father-of-two said he had shone the pen after having a conversation with his brother and didn’t realise the pen was strong enough to reach the aircraft.

Grayston admitted recklessly acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft.

Emma Radley, mitigating, said the incident did not place the pilot in danger although it did distract him as he was flying the helicopter.

She said the helicopter had helped to identify two suspects on the school and was heading back to base when Grayston had shone the pen.

Miss Radley said Grayston had bought the pen for the family dog to play with as it liked to chase after the laser.

Judge James Spencer QC jailed Grayston for six months but suspended the sentence for a year. Grayston was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid of work.

The judge said: “You and others must know that this kind of offending will not be tolerated.”