Ilford man jailed for shining laser pen at police helicopter
A former employee of security firm G4S has been jailed for six months for shining a “powerful” laser beam at a police helicopter.
Adnan Bukhari, 21, of Kingston Road, Ilford, flashed a blue light at a commercial aeroplane in Ilford on the first day of the Olympic Games.
Heathrow Airport air traffic control alerted police and a helicopter, flown by Captain Charles Huke, was sent out to establish the source of the laser.
But the chopper was then repeatedly targeted by the blue beam, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Captain Huke, who was forced to turn around to avoid being dazzled by the beam, radioed for ground assistance.
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Officers found Bukhari, together with six other friends, in Longbridge Road, Barking.
The laser was discovered at the bottom of a tree close to a car the group travelled in.
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Upon his arrest, Bukhari claimed he had broken a religious fast to smoke a cigarette when he found the laser pen in Uphall Recreation Ground, Cecil Road, Ilford on July 28.
He and his friends then got a lift to Longbridge Road where, upon seeing the helicopter, “stupidly” shone the laser at it.
“He said he didn’t realise how serious and dangerous it was to do this,” said prosecutor Paul Evans.
Jailing him, judge Tudor Owen said: “These offences are increasingly prevalent as lasers are more readily available, the numbers are growing, and that’s why the courts have to approach such sentences with a deterrent element.”
Umar Azmeh, defending Bukhari, said he had been working for G4S at the time of the incident but had since been sacked.
“He hopes to be a secondary school business teacher and has done so much charity work in Ilford and Pakistan,” added Mr Azmeh.
Bukhari admitted recklessly endangering an aircraft or persons in an aircraft.