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Old 16th May 2008, 17:09
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: London
Posts: 482
[email protected] attacks on Aircraft

At Snaresbrook Crown Court on the 15th May HH Judge Tudor Owen sentenced ech of two defendants who had pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft by shining a green [email protected] light into the cockpit of a police helicopter to 6 months imprisonment

Captain Brian Baldwin, the chief pilot of the Metropolitan Police Air Support Unit since 1997 told the court that the frequency of [email protected] being used against their helicopters is doubling each year so that there are now up to 15 incidents each month. In his opinion the increase in recent years is in direct proportion to the reduction in size, cost and increase in availability of such devices. He described the effect of shining such a device into the cockpit of a helicopter at night and gave his opinion that
“ is only through chance that we have not had a serious incident or accident from the increasing incidence of [email protected] lights being used against police helicopters”.
Judge Owen told the two men
“The potentially catastrophic consequences of endangering an aircraft in flight are so obvious they do not need to be spelled out and when an aircraft is flying over a densely populated area the consequences may be even more serious.

As frequently seen in cases before this and other courts, police helicopters do invaluable work protecting the community and combating crime. That includes, for example, searching for and helping to apprehend suspects, assisting with firearms incidents, public order incidents and counter terrorism operations. The crews are entitled to be protected from the likes of you who are, as I have said, a dangerous menace.

The message should go out that people who target helicopters in this idiotic and dangerous way should expect to receive custodial sentences.”
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