A teenager has been jailed for six months for dazzling a police helicopter with a laser pen.
Wayne Junior French, 19, of Hollymoor Way, Rubery, was caught with the pen by police who were investigating reports of a commercial jet being zapped by a green laser pen.
French, who appeared in a shirt and tie at Birmingham Crown Court, spoke only to confirm his name and blew a kiss at his family as he was taken down.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft – the police helicopter.
Charnjit Jutla, prosecuting, said that at about 9.45pm, on September 11, the West Midlands Air Support Unit was sent to Hollymoor Way.
He said: “At that point the helicopter pilot – as well as the crew – noticed a dazzle whereby a green laser pen was being shone into the cockpit.”
The crew spotted French sitting inside a blue Ford Focus.
Police on the ground were directed to the car and French admitted he had shone the laser.
Paul John, defending, said French had learning difficulties and was “immature”.
He said: “Mr French concedes this is a very serious scenario with potentially cataclysmic consequences.
“He does express genuine remorse and is absolutely terrified about custody.
“He hasn’t slept properly since he was arrested.
“He is the sort of young man who’s learned his lesson.”
French was recently made redundant and had been looking for work, added Mr John.
Judge Roderick Henderson told French that his jail term would have been a “great deal longer” if had been sentencing him for dazzling the jet.
He said: “It could have led to a crash in which the crew of the helicopter could have died along with the people on the ground where it happened.
“I have no doubt at the time you didn’t think through what you were doing but it was a plainly deliberate act.”