Ballymena man admits using a laser to attempt to dazzle pilot of police helicopter as it hovered over built-up area

A Ballymena man has admitted using a laser to attempt to dazzle the pilot of a police helicopter as it hovered over the town.

Sheldon McClean (19), of Dunclug Gardens, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to a charge that on March 3 this year he ‘directed or shone a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot’.

An original charge that he ‘recklessly or negligently acted in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft’ was withdrawn by prosecutors.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said he wanted a pre-sentence report and adjourned the case to mid-July.

The full facts of the case have yet to be outlined to the court.

However, at the time of the incident, the PSNI Air Support twitter page said: ‘Police 46 were over Ballymena this evening when a male shone a laser at them.

‘Thanks to excellent work between Police 46 and @PSNIMEADistrict one male was arrested for a number of relevant offences and is currently in custody.’

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