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Jet's path probed in laser pen case; Youth 'put flight at risk'.

Byline: Neil McKay

LAWYERS representing a teenager accused of shining a laser pen into the cockpit of a passenger-packed holiday jet are to ask aviation authorities for its flight plan.

Police were alerted to the potentially disastrous incident on September 15 after the pilot of a commercial Jet2 airline was preparing to land the flight from Crete at Newcastle Airport. A helicopter shared by the Northumbria and Durham forces was immediately sent up to search for the culprits.

At 10.15pm, while flying over County Durham, officers onboard were also targeted by a laser light.

They were able to track where the beam was coming from and radioed in officers on the ground who went out to Pelton Fell near Chester-le-Street.

Yesterday a youth, 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted endangering the police helicopter by shining a laser pen at it, but denied endangering the passenger jet.

Suzanne Hanson, the lawyer representing the boy at Consett Youth Court, said she would be asking for a copy of the flight plan.

She told JPs her client had said he bought the laser pen from a friend who had brought in a batch of 200 from holiday in Lanzarote.

Ms Hanson said: "We are aware that the flight was over Chester-le-Street air space but we are trying to ascertain if it flew over where he lives. My client doesn'think that he shone the laser pen at the passenger aircraft.

"We are trying to obtain copies of the flight plan. This is a very complex area of law." She successfully sought an adjournment until December 3.

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DANGER Officers in a police helicopter sent up to find who shone a laser pen at a flight were also targeted
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Nov 13, 2010
Words:289
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