Tyne & Wear

Man jailed after Northumbria Police pilot dazzled

Northumbria Police helicopter
Image caption The Northumbria Police helicopter was repeatedly targeted

A South Tyneside man who shone a laser pen at a Northumbria Police helicopter has been jailed.

Richard Oliver, of St Vincent's Street in South Shields, repeatedly targeted the craft from his garden, forcing the pilot to divert from the planned route.

Oliver was jailed for six months for the offence, and a further six for breaching a suspended sentence.

He had earlier admitted shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court said that the father-of-three had acted like a "dangerous idiot" during the incident on 6 June.

He added that the action could have had a "catastrophic" result.

In addition to his six-month term, a suspended sentence awarded in October for attempted theft and handling stolen goods was activated.

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