North West Wales

John Arthur Jones jailed for shining lights at RAF jets

John Arthur Jones

A man who repeatedly shone a powerful light at RAF jets flying over his house has been jailed for 18 months.

John Arthur Jones, 66, of Bodffordd, Anglesey, was convicted of causing dangerous distractions to Hawk jet pilots on night training flights during his trial in June.

Mold Crown Court heard he had a grievance against the RAF and, at one stage, considered legal action.

The former councillor had denied 13 charges of endangering aircraft.

Jones, who was also a council housing director, shone the lights at jets flying from RAF Mona, Anglesey, between November 2013 and September 2014.

He had told police pilots were deliberately harassing him by flying over his property, his trial heard.

'Profound arrogance'

On Friday, Judge Geraint Walters told him: "You possess an abundance of self belief in your own ability to achieve things, which transcends all reason and which is borne out of profound arrogance."

Jones, he said, had indulged in a determined campaign over many months.

The judge said when Jones failed to have the flight paths moved from above his home and away from an ambitious development of Canadian lodges which did not go ahead, he launched a campaign of intimidation against them.

"The risk caused here was significant," he said.

"The consequences could have been devastating. Your conduct became a campaign over a long period of time."

Image copyright RAF
Image caption The Hawk T2 Jet is mainly used for training exercises

The illuminations occurred during night flying training as pilots came in to land.

They followed a carefully executed series of procedures and often split second decisions had to be made, the court heard.

"Any distraction is a potential danger during this stage," Judge Walters told him.

Each time an attempted landing failed, that presented a lost opportunity for the pilots being trained and considerable expense to the RAF, the judge said.

Undercover police officers were drafted in and they caught Jones red-handed.

During the trial, Jones said he was simply filming the jets as part of a compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence.

After the sentencing, Det Sgt Chris Hargrave from North Wales Police said: "Throughout the investigation and trial, he has shown no remorse for his actions or recognition of the potential dangers and implications to not only the RAF personnel but also the wider community.

"We welcome the result of the court and hope this sends out a strong message to those who commit similar offences."

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