Man admits shining laser at police helicopter

man admits shining laser at police helicopter - Man admits shining laser at police helicopter
Image caption Joel Martin shone a laser at a moving helicopter and dazzled the pilot

A man who admitted shining a laser beam at a police helicopter has been sentenced.

Joel Martin, 22, aimed the laser at the chopper at 00:05 BST on 4 May and blinded Capt Robert Humphries “for some five to 15 seconds”.

Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard the pilot had to abandon his search as he could not read his instruments.

Martin, of Stroud Road, Gloucester, has been handed a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Prosecutor May Li said while the pilot was blinded “he was unable to read his instruments and as a consequence he had to abandon the search”.

She said Martin had “admitted in interview that he had consumed some alcohol and had been shining the laser beam at the stars when the helicopter came into view”.

He has since written a letter of apology and “fully accepts that his actions could have been very serious”, the court was told.

District Judge Joti Bopa Rai also ordered Martin to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and the laser pen to be destroyed.

He has to pay a victim surcharge of £128 and court costs of £85.

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