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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-10-03

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Steven Baxter was jailed for 8 months for pointing laser pen at aircraft

MERSEYSIDE Police have confirmed that Steven Baxter has been jailed for 8 months after shining a laser pen in the direction of 2 planes and a helicopter flying over Merseyside.

Steven Phillip Baxter, 33, of Bradmoor Road, Bromborough was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court, on Thursday, 2 March 2017, to 8 months in prison, after pleading guilty to 3 counts of endangering the safety of an aircraft. The judge also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the laser pen.

Baxter directed the laser pen at 2 commercial planes and a National Police Air Service (NPAS) Helicopter between around 7pm to 11pm, on 23 October 2016.

The Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) of the NPAS Helicopter directed Officers to the address where the laser was being shone from and Baxter was arrested, producing the laser pen and admitting the offence in interview.

Merseyside Police Inspector Bob Daly said:- "Merseyside Police treats the shining of laser pens at aircraft extremely seriously. I hope this sentencing sends a clear message to anyone considering such a reckless and dangerous act that the consequences for them are severe. I also want to stress that while thankfully no 1 was hurt on this occasion, the consequences could have been far worse for the wider public and we would appeal to anyone with knowledge of people engaging in this behaviour to contact us."

Ollie Dismore, Director of Flight Operations for the National Police Air Service (NPAS) said:- "Laser misuse, such as this, is a 21st Century threat not just to aviation but the wider travelling public and it is a positive step to see this reflected in sentencing in this way. NPAS and the police forces it serves take this offence very seriously and will continue to pursue prosecutions against its own aircraft, as well as supporting airlines and airports in protecting those travelling by air."

A Liverpool John Lennon Airport spokesperson added:- "The aviation industry, the Police and the Courts all take this issue very seriously and this sentencing sends a clear message to anyone using these devices that this will not be tolerated and that custodial sentences will be handed out."

Anyone with information about individuals who use laser pens illegally are asked to contact Merseyside Police on:- 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously and for free, on:- 0800 555 111.


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