Laser pointers seized at port

JUST days after an Ipswich man was convicted of using a laser pointer to temporarily blind the pilot of the police helicopter, Suffolk trading standards officers have seized a consignment of similar pointers.

JUST days after an Ipswich man was convicted of using a laser pointer to temporarily blind the pilot of the police helicopter, Suffolk trading standards officers have seized a consignment of similar pointers.

The 16 boxes of the powerful green lasers were intercepted at the Port of Felixstowe and were destined for an importer's premises in North London.

The seized pointers are illegal in this country because their five milliwatt power output is stronger than the 1mw UK limit.

The laser pointers, which are used in the US by astronomers, have hit the headlines recently after a number of cases of individuals blinding helicopter pilots.

Glen Porter, 20, who suffers from psychosis brought about by heavy use of cannabis, shone the high-intensity laser into the helicopter's cockpit as it searched for a missing child in Ipswich.

Porter, of St Augustine's Road, was given a 20-week custodial term suspended for 18 months.

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Speaking after the laser pointers were seized in Suffolk, public protection chief Joanna Spicer said: “These are not the laser pens or pointers you sometimes see in conferences or presentations, these items are way more powerful than is legally allowed in this country.

“We have heard in the past week alone what damage can be done to pilots and aircraft when these powerful instruments get into the wrong hands.

“I am pleased our trading standards officers have intercepted them before they reached either the high street or the internet and prevented them getting into wider circulation.”

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