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Laser pest Jerome Tomlinson endangered police chopper

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

A pest who dazzled a police helicopter pilot with a laser pen as he hovered over Maidstone is facing jail.

Jerome Tomlinson admitted endangering the safety of the aircraft when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday.

The 21-year-old, of Kewlands, Maidstone, entered the plea shortly before he was due to stand trial on the charge alleging he recklessly acted in a manner likely to endanger the Essex Police Eurocopter EC135 by shining the laser into the cockpit.

The helicopter was flying at about 1,700ft and helping to track down a suspect when the incident happened over the Vinters Park area on June 24 last year.

Police officers went to a car in Snowdon Avenue and arrested Tomlinson.

Danny Moore, defending, said the Court of Appeal had upheld a six-month prison sentence for a similar offence, but he would submit such a term could be suspended.

Tomlinson had stayed out of trouble since his release from an 18-month jail sentence in 2007 for violent disorder.

"He is taking a course at Mid-Kent College studying electrical installation," said Mr Moore.

"He is due to finish in June this year. He has important examinations soon."

Tomlinson, who works part time as a decorator, had been offered stable employment, added Mr Moore.

Recorder Simon Crookenden QC granted bail and adjourned sentence for four weeks.

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