A DAD has been banged up for shining a £5 laser pen at a TUI holiday jet – and endangering the lives of 180 people on board.
Michael Bisgrove, 54, shone the green laser at the Boeing 737 to dazzle the pilot and crew as they were flying back to Britain from the Canary Islands.
A court heard the TUI crew were targeted at 2,500ft as came in to land at Cardiff Airport from Gran Canaria in April last year.
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.”
When a police helicopter searched for Bisgrove he shone the laser into the eyes of the three-man crew, putting their lives at risk.
Newport Crown Court heard the pen is capable of causing retinal damage. It was aimed at the South Wales Police helicopter three times as it hovered at 1,000ft looking for him.
Judge Richard Williams said father-of-three Bisgrove, of Boverton, near Llantwit Major, South Wales, could have caused a “catastrophe”.
Bisgrove’s 15cm-long laser pen, with a zoom and 5km range, cost £5 to buy online. It was seized and destroyed.
He admitted two charges of directing a laser beam towards an aircraft and helicopter. He was jailed for 32 months.
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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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