Bircotes: Woman who shone laser pen at flying police chopper was ‘careless and wreckless’

In Court
In Court

A Bircotes woman who shone a ‘powerful’ laser pen that she bought off eBay at a police helicopter has avoided jail.

Leanne Martin, 20, of Whitehouse Drive, admitted the offence at Worksop Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 14th August.

At the previous hearing the court heard that on 28th January 2014, the pilot of a police helicopter heard his tactical officer shout ‘laser’ at around 9.23pm.

The pilot then saw a bright green light coming from the north side of Bircotes but managed to reposition the aircraft so that it did not ‘dazzle’ him.

He spotted the laser on two more occasions and then reported the incident to warn other aircrafts as this was on the main flight path to the Robin Hood Airport.

Police officers were then sent around to the address and Martin was in the property where officers found the pen and packaging.

Prosecuting, Rod Chapman, said: “The pilot said that the laser did not directly shine in his eyes which was lucky because a great amount of concentration was required at the time.”

The court also heard that Martin had been using the pen to ‘wind her dog up’ in the house. When she heard a noise in the area she opened the blinds in her bedroom and saw a light.

Martin then opened the window and decided to ‘point her pen at the helicopter’ even though her boyfriend told her not to.

After a short time she realised it was a police aircraft and stopped.

In mitigation, David Verity, said: “Miss Martin is full of remorse. She knows it was stupid.”

“She did not realise how powerful the laser was and had not seen the warning sticker which says to ‘avoid eye contact.’”

“As soon as she realised it was a police helicopter she stopped because she knew she should not do it.”

“She cannot believe how daft she was. This was a complete one off. She has no previous convictions.”

“When police asked her if she understood how serious it was, she said ‘I do now.’”

The magistrates said: “This was a careless and wreckless behaviour and could have been catastrophic.”

Martin was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 120 hours unpaid work. She must also pay £85 court costs and £60 victim surcharge.