Michael Bisgrove jailed for aiming laser into plane

Michael Bisgrove Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Michael Bisgrove was jailed for 32 months after he admitted two charges of directing a laser beam towards an aeroplane and helicopter

The lives of 180 passengers and crew on board a Boeing 737 were endangered when a man aimed a laser beam into the cockpit, a court heard.

Michael Bisgrove, 54, directed the green laser at the TUI jet, dazzling the pilot and crew as they came in to land at Cardiff Airport in April 2018.

When a police helicopter searched for Bisgrove he shone the laser into the eyes of the three-man crew, putting their lives at risk.

He was jailed for 32 months.

The jet was bringing passengers to Cardiff from Gran Canaria when the crew were dazzled at 2,500 ft (762m) over Llantwit Major.

Newport Crown Court heard the pen, capable of causing retinal damage, was aimed at the South Wales Police helicopter three times as it hovered at 1,000 ft (305m) looking for him.


Prosecutor Anthony Cheung said: "Captain Robin Small was flying the Boeing 737 when a laser beam was shone through the front window of the cockpit.

"The dazzling light caused Captain Small and his crew difficulty when it shone into the cockpit for about a minute."

Judge Richard Williams said father-of-three Bisgrove, of Berry Court, Boverton, Llantwit Major, could have caused a "catastrophe".

Bisgrove's 15cm-long laser pen, with a zoom and 5km range, cost £5 to buy online and was seized and destroyed.

Image caption Michael Bisgrove was jailed at Newport Crown Court

He admitted two charges of directing a laser beam towards an aeroplane and helicopter. 

Adam Sharp, defending, 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."

A spokesman for TUI welcomed the jail sentence and praised the aircraft's captain and crew for its handling of the situation.

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