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Man arrested for pointing laser pen at PSNI helicopter

By Allan Preston

Published 20/06/2016

Man (44) arrested after laser pointed at PSNI helicopter during Co Tyrone security alert
Man (44) arrested after laser pointed at PSNI helicopter during Co Tyrone security alert

A 44-year-old man has been arrested for shining a laser pen directly at a police helicopter during a security alert in which a gun was found.

On Friday evening residents near Lisnafin Park in Strabane, Co Tyrone, took refuge in a community centre after a suspicious device was reported in the area.

While the area was cordoned off, a PSNI helicopter was then dispatched to assist officers on the ground. During the search, the laser pen was aimed directly into the cockpit.

Commenting on the incident, Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said: "A car was seized and what is believed to be a suspected firearm was recovered.

"This suspected firearm will be the subject of further forensic examination. Enquiries into this incident are currently ongoing."

He added: "The crew of the helicopter were able to direct officers on the ground to a house where the suspect was arrested.

"Following a search of the property a bag of lasers was recovered."

Residents, many of whom were pensioners and children, were finally able to return to their homes on Saturday morning around 8.25am when the alert ended.

The 44-year-old man has since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

In April, a man from Greenisland, Co Antrim was jailed for six months for shining a laser pen at a police helicopter. Alan Armstrong (35) admitted a charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft on September 19 last year.

Belfast Telegraph

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