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Foolish prankster cautioned after shining potentially blinding laser pen at Manchester police helicopter

By Dean Wilkins

A thoughtless prankster is being cautioned by Greater Manchester Police after shining a potentially blinding laser pen at helicopter pilots from his garage.

The 44-year-old man was fooling around with the life-endangering object in the early hours of yesterday morning when a GMP aircraft was flying over Lakes Road, Dukinfield.

He carelessly beamed the purple laser into the cockpit and officers were dispatched to his home where the man was arrested on suspicion of contravening the Air Navigation Order by endangering an aircraft – he was cautioned and the pen was confiscated.

Inspector Maxine Saboor said: “Shining such a high-powered laser into the cockpit of any aircraft is extremely reckless and the consequences could be tragic.

“This is the polar opposite of the sort of harmless prank some people might perceive it to be. Any time a laser is shone into a cockpit it has the potential to temporarily blind the pilot, which in turn causes a real danger that the crew could lose control of the aircraft.

“The consequences of that do not bear thinking about.

“I hope this latest case acts as a stern warning to others that this is not an innocent prank but can have deadly consequences, and we will arrest anyone found using these pens in such a foolish way.

“I would also encourage anyone who knows of someone who has one of these dangerous pens and has used them in this way to call me so we can action before someone is seriously hurt.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 0279, 101, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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