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.
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”.
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.