Laser pen shone at cop riot he­li­copter

Macclesfield Express - - WINTER WONDERLAND - STU­ART GREER

APO­LICE he­li­copter crew mon­i­tor­ing a riot from the air had to aban­don its mis­sion when drunk pranksters shone a laser pen at them, a court was told.

Mag­is­trates heard that David Bl­izy­cki, 26, and Ar­tur Chat, 23, were at a party when they be­gan aim­ing the green laser pen at the air­craft in an act of “supreme drunken stu­pid­ity”.

The Na­tional Po­lice Air Ser­vice (NPAS) he­li­copter had been scram­bled to Soss Moss men­tal health hos­pi­tal in Nether Alder­ley after some pa­tients be­came vi­o­lent late at night on July 5 last year.

But while hov­er­ing at 1,200 feet pi­lot Cap­tain John Carr forced to take im­me­di­ate eva­sive ac­tion when the laser pen was shone at him, the court was told.

Dur­ing a 20 minute or­deal the light beam was re­peat­edly aimed at the he­li­copter caus­ing the crew to aban­don their role record­ing the riot.

The flight crew then used cam­eras to guide po­lice col­leagues on the ground to the cul­prits.

At Mac­cles­field mag­is­trates’ court Bl­izy­cki, for­merly of Drum­mond Way, Mac­cles­field, and Chat, for­merly of Green Lane, Alder­ley Edge, ad­mit­ted reck­lessly or neg­li­gently act­ing in a man­ner likely to en­dan­ger an air­craft or per­sons in an air­craft.

The court heard of­fi­cers ar­rived at Pear­son’s tomato farm in Alder­ley Edge and found a group of Pol­ish na­tion­als, in­clud­ing Bl­izy­cki and Chat, who ad­mit­ted us­ing the laser.

Deb­bie Byrne, prose­cut­ing, said: “Just be­fore 10pm on July 5 a po­lice he­li­copter took off from its base to mon­i­tor a crit­i­cal in­ci­dent at a se­cure hos­pi­tal in Nether Alder­ley.

“Cap­tain Carr po­si­tioned the air­craft 1,200 feet above the hos­pi­tal and flight crew started to video footage of the in­ci­dent.

“He sud­denly be­came aware of a bright green laser light en­ter­ing the cock­pit from be­low.

“The cap­tain took im­me­di­ate eva­sive ac­tion, low­er­ing his head and mov­ing the air­craft to the left. This was in an ef­fort to avoid the laser shin­ing di­rectly in his eyes.

“The con­se­quences of him be­ing blinded by the light were dire bear­ing in mind he was the sole pi­lot. In per­form­ing this eva­sive ma­noeu­vre he was forced to aban­don the op­er­a­tional task and was un­able to con­tinue.

“The light be­ing shone at the air­craft lasted sev­eral min­utes ini­tially, fol­lowed by a se­ries of fur­ther episodes dur­ing the next 20 min­utes. Some of them were quite pro­tracted.”

The court heard that after his ar­rest Bl­izy­cki told po­lice he be­gan to toy around with the laser pen after drink­ing half a litre of vodka and some lagers.

Mrs Byrne said: “He said he thought it was a toy and that it couldn’t be dan­ger­ous.

“He said he started shin­ing it on houses and trees, and de­lib­er­ately shine it at the he­li­copter.

“He claimed to have held it for 10 seconds and was sur­prised that the in­ci­dent last 20 min­utes.

“He agreed that if the pi­lot had been dis­tracted it could have cause him to lose con­trol and crash caus­ing fa­tal­i­ties.

“He kept say­ing he was sorry and that he wouldn’t have used the pen if he had known how pow­er­ful and dan­ger­ous it was.”

Chat also ad­mit­ted us­ing the pen to po­lice, the court heard.

Christo­pher Joseph, de­fend­ing, said the men, who since the in­ci­dent have moved back home to Poland, had not acted de­lib­er­ately. He said: “This was an act of supreme drunken stu­pid­ity.

“They weren’t the only peo­ple us­ing the pen but the only ones who came for­ward to po­lice to ad­mit shin­ing it.”

Bl­izy­cki and Chat were bailed to at­tend Ch­ester Crown Court at a fu­ture date where they will be sentenced.

●● David Bl­izy­cki and Ar­tur Chat

●● The po­lice he­li­copter

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