Lives put in danger after laser shone at police helicopter over Daventry

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Lives were potentially put in danger after a laser was shone into the cockpit of a police helicopter flying over Daventry.

The helicopter was over the town on Friday night helping police search for a vulnerable missing person.

As it was carrying out the search a laser was shone from the ground at the aircraft.

The National Police Air Service (NPAS) said helicopter pilot Paul Atherton saw two flashes of light from the laser at about 11pm on Friday.

Despite the potential danger the helicopter carried on its search and the person was eventually located.

Police attempted to locate the source of the light, but officers were not able to find the person responsible.

Pilots flying in the dark rely on their night vision, and bright lasers which effectively flicker and strobe into the cockpit due to the movement of the aircraft, can distract pilots, prevent them from seeing out, or even temporarily blind them.

They pose a risk to both those in the aircraft, and also potentially to people on the ground as well.

Those convicted of shining lasers at aircraft have faced jail terms or five or six months.