A POLICE helicopter pilot flying over Chard in the early hours of the morning was left dazzled after being targeted in an alleged laser-pointer attack.

The Western Counties Air Operations unit visited the town at around 1.40am last Tuesday – with a helicopter helping officers investigate reports of vehicle crime when the pilot became ‘dazzled’ by a green laser being shone at him.

Police were in pursuit of two men allegedly seen breaking into a car near Sainsbury’s and leaving the area in a stolen Suzuki van.

Sgt Andy Lloyd said: “We pursued and caught up with the vehicle in Catch Gate Lane where they ran away. We arrested one of the suspects nearby.”

The police helicopter was called from Filton to help with the pursuit of the second suspect and was covering ground near Bradfield Way before the laser attack took place.

PC Richard Simms, one of the observers on the helicopter from the Western Counties Air Operations Unit, said: “There was a powerful green light on the pilot’s side of the aircraft and we had to back off from our search task.

“Using our camera system we located where the light was coming from and with a combination of our equipment we were able to identify the property and direct officers to the location.

“The response of the officers in Chard to our call was exemplary and we are grateful to them for their efforts.”

Following the laser incident a 45-year-old man was arrested and charged with directing or shining a light at an aircraft so as to dazzle the pilot. He will appear at South Somerset Magistrates Court in Yeovil on Friday, September 16.

Sgt Lloyd added: “Subsequently at about 4.30am in the morning we arrested the|second suspect from the Sainsbury’s theft at his address in Chard and he is currently on bail.”

The two men charged with the vehicle theft will also appear at South Somerset Magistrates Court on Friday, September 16.