54 year-old man jailed for Cardiff Airport laser attack on Tui 737

A 54 year-old man from Llantwit Major has been sent to prison for 32 months after he put the lives of the passengers and crew of a Tui 737 in danger by shining a ‘laser pen’ at it.

Micheal Bisgrove of Berry Court, Boverton shone the laser at the Tui Airways UK Boeing 737-800 as it was on approach to Cardiff Airport from Gran Canaria.

According to the prosecution, the aircraft was being flown by the Captain, Robin Small, when the light shone into the cockpit for around a minute causing him and the crew difficulties.

TUI Family Life Boeing 737-800
A TUI Airways Boeing 737-800 lands at Cardiff Airport

Newport Crown Court heard how the pen, which was bought from the internet, is capable of causing retinal damage.

On the night of the incident, in April this year, the police helicopter which is based at nearby St Athan searched for source of the laser and it too was attacked by Bisgrove endangering that crew as well.

Bisgrove admitted the charges of directing a laser beam towards the TUI aircraft and the police helicopter and in sentencing, Judge Richard Williams said the attack could have caused a “catastrophe”.

A laser attack on a Wales Air Ambulance helicopter on another date, this is what it looks like from inside the aircraft.

In mitigation, Bisgroves counsel said: “He doesn’t have any interest in aeronautics or aeroplanes, this was totally out of character.

“His actions amount to complete stupidity rather than any intent to cause harm.”

The laser pen was seized and destroyed.

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Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.