A 21-year-old British man who temporarily blinded a police helicopter pilot by shining a laser pen at his aircraft was sentenced to four months in jail Thursday.
Dean Bottomley, 21, “zapped” the helicopter eight to ten times from the bedroom window of his home in Stockport, Greater Manchester, causing the captain to take emergency action, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard.
Jobless Bottomley paid $59 on eBay for the pen, which has a range of up to five miles.
Captain Mark Westwood, with two passengers aboard the Greater Manchester Police force helicopter, was flying between 800 and 1,200 feet high, at night, while monitoring a police operation on the ground.
Bottomley repeatedly hit the aircraft with the laser beam leaving the pilot unable to see properly or make out the craft’s control instruments.
His actions could have had “catastrophic consequences” for those on board and anyone on the ground, the court was told.
Bottomley pleaded guilty to the reckless endangerment of an aircraft on April 16.