Laser pen shone at cop riot helicopter
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