A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

UK: 12 months for aiming at police helicopter (4 months suspended)

Trevor Cheeseman, 59
Burringham, North Lincolnshire, UK


Cheeseman was convicted after a "sustained laser attack" on a National Air Police Helicopter flying over Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire on April 11 2020.

The helicopter crew directed Humberside Police to a location where Cheeseman was arrested. He pleaded not guilty in December 2020. In early March 2021, Cheeseman was given a 12 month sentence, suspended four months. He was convicted of shining a laser beam towards a person providing air services, causing the laser beam to dazzle or distract that person.

From GrimsbyLive. Although the story says the sentence was 12 months with four months suspended, the headline states "Man avoids prison…" The apparent discrepancy may be due to factors of British law or judicial terms.

UK: Suspended 6-month sentence for London man who repeatedly lased NPAS helicopter

Limshin Chung Ching Wan, 42
Blackdown Close, East Finchley, London, UK


Limshin Chung Ching Wan laser NPAS

On March 10 2017, Chung Ching Wan was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years, given a six month curfew under electronic tag, and ordered to pay prosecution costs and £115 victim surcharge. In addition, the laser pen he used plus three other “powerful” laser pens were ordered destroyed.

His punishment came after a January 12 2017 incident where a National Police Air Service helicopter was illuminated by green laser light several times. A crew member momentarily lost vision; the pilot changed the helicopter’s direction to avoid the beam. Ground officers were directed to a location where Chung Ching Wan was arrested. He told officers he was an accountant making £45,000 (USD $60,000) per year and said “It’s really silly what I have done.”

On January 31 2017 he pleaded guilty to recklessly and negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or person in an aircraft.

From the Mirror and Police Oracle

UK: 12-month conditional discharge and fees of £100 for aiming laser pen at police helicopter

Scott Christopher Brown, 26
Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, UK


On March 27 2015, a Humberside police helicopter was illuminated by laser light. On August 3 2015, Brown admitted the offense of shining a light so as to distract or dazzle a pilot.

Brown was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge, and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15 and costs of £85 by North Lincolnshire magistrates.

Australia: 2-1/3 year sentence suspended over $10 laser pen drunkenly aimed at police helicopter

Adam Thomas Stewart, 30
Evanston, South Australia


In September 2013, Stewart repeatedly aimed a laser pen at a police helicopter.

The pilot had been using night vision goggles. He had "minor discomfort and sensitivity to light" for the next two days.

In court on July 2 2015, Stewart's lawyer said he was inebriated at the time and was playing with the laser which he had purchased online for less than AUS $10. The lawyer called Stewart's actions "inebriated stupidity."

The judge called Stewart's actions "drunken, dumb and dangerous."

Stewart pleaded guilty to prejudicing the safe operation of an aircraft and using a prohibited weapon — the laser.

He was sentenced to two years and four months, suspended in favor of a $500, two-year good behavior bond.

From ABC News

US: Eight years, suspended, for Ohio lasing of a TV helicopter

Nicholas Vecchiarelli, 46
Hubbard, Ohio, US


Nicholas Vecchiarelli laser

Vecchiarelli was sentenced on October 2 2014 to probation for five years, has to do 200 hours of community service, must write an apology to his victims, has to pay a $1,000 fine, has an 11 pm curfew, and must stay out of liquor establishments. If he violates his probation, he could go to prison for eight years.

Vecchiarelli was arrested for aiming a laser at a news helicopter that was filming an October 11 2013 football game at Hubbard (Ohio) High School. The cameraman told police the laser light entered his eyes. He was able to direct police to the laser location, about 1 mile southeast of the stadium.

UK: Five months, suspended, for aiming at police helicopter

Gavin Hoskins, 26
Bristol, UK


On March 19 2014, Hoskins was sentenced to five months in jail, suspended for two years, plus he must do 200 hours of community service within 12 months. On January 20 2014, Hoskins aimed a laser pen at a National Police Air Service helicopter, to see if the beam could reach the aircraft. He said the lasing was “stupid” and was not done deliberately.

Wales: Suspended 5-month sentence, 200 hours community service, £165 fine for lasing helicopter 10 times

Kevin Mark Griffiths, 22
Greenfield, Flintshire, Wales, UK

On September 25 2013, Griffiths repeatedly aimed a green laser at a North Wales Police helicopter that was trying to locate a missing person. He hit the aircraft about 10 times over an eight-minute period. At trial Griffiths admitted a charge of recklessly endangering an aircraft or persons inside. On January 9, 2014 he was given a five-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, and was fined £165 in costs.

UK: 6 months suspended, 150 hours unpaid work

Jack Waistle, 21
Middlesbrough, UK

Pic 2013-04-11 at 12.47.37 AM
On April 10 2013, Waistle was given a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work, for aiming a laser pen at a Cleveland Police helicopter. Leaving the courtroom, Waistle put two fingers up (photo above) which the Daily Star wrote was “defiant”.

Sweden: Suspended sentence with community service

Unnamed man, 21
Sweden

In February 2010, a 21-year-old repeatedly aimed a laser at a police helicopter. He could have received 90 days in jail. Instead, he was convicted of "aviation sabotage" and received a suspended sentence with community service, in June 2011.