A man who shone a laser pen at a Police helicopter in a deliberate and sustained attack has been jailed for seven months at Cardiff Crown Court.
Matthew Davies (33) of Dol yr Eos, Mornington Meadows, Caerphilly admitted shining or directing a laser beam towards a police helicopter and his guilty plea was the only mitigation put forward by his defence team.
The attack occured on 17th March 2020 when the National Police Air Service (NPAS) Helicopter was assisting Gwent Police hunt for burglars.
Davies pointed the laser pen at the helicopter for 15 minutes forcing the pilot and the crew (all police officers) to don laser protective goggles and abandon the mission.
But they were able to pinpoint the source of the attack and Davies was arrested with the laser pen claiming he was using it to find a cigarette he had dropped.
Prosecuting barrister David Pinnell, told the court: “Robert Humphries was flying the National Police Air Service helicopter with his three passengers, all police officers, and they were assisting Gwent Police who were investigating a burglary in a commercial area.
“They were on the outskirts of Caerphilly at just before 3am on March 17 when he said they came under a persistent and deliberate attack from a laser beam which lasted at least 15 minutes.
“It dazzled him and it prevented him from seeing his aircraft’s instruments. It was dark and the weather was poor.
“The attack was persistent and presented a significant risk to the safety of the aircraft.
“The pilot and the crew donned protective laser beam goggles which allows them to operate in such circumstances.
“They had to abandon their mission.”
Jailing Davies Judge Michael Fitton QC said “It was a reckless act. There was a significant risk of an accident in a built-up area.
“The consequences would have been devastating for those on board had they lost control.
“The initial account you gave to the police was nonsense.
“You are 33 and old enough to know better. You have not learned from your previous behaviour.”
Davies cried when he was led from the court.