Laser shone at police ’copter

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A POLICE force pilot escaped being dazzled and getting into potential difficulty after a laser was shone at the helicopter he was flying.

The Cleveland Police Force helicopter had been to investigate an incident in Hartlepool and was on its way back to the airport when a small laser light was shone from the bedroom window of a house in the Seaton Lane area of town.

The pilot noticed the light and called for back-up from officers on the ground.

It then safely made its way back to its base near to Durham Tees Valley Airport.

The incident happened around 11pm on Tuesday.

Today police issued a stark warning to members of the public to refrain from shining any kind of light at an aircraft due to the potential consequences.

Sergeant Dave Clark, of the air support unit, said often members of the public do not realise how dangerous carrying out such an act is.

And he warned that anyone who is caught shining lasers or lights at the police helicopter, or any other aircraft, will be sought out, arrested and dealt with by the courts.

Sgt Clark said: “Shining lights at helicopters and other aircraft can have severe safety issues and some people don’t realise how serious the consequences can be.

“Anyone who is found to be shining lasers or lights at aircraft will be arrested and dealt with by the courts.”

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said that following the incident on Tuesday night a 21-year-old woman from Hartlepool was arrested and has been charged with allegedly directly shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot.

She is due to appear at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court on a date to be fixed.