Man admits disrupting helicopter search in Bangor

A man has admitted flashing a high-powered hunting lamp at a police helicopter during a missing person’s search in Bangor.

Kevin Riley was given a suspended sentence in detention after pleading guilty to endangering an aircraft and threatening behaviour last July.

The 18 year-old, who was living on a traveller’s site in the city, was accompanied by a lurcher dog when police arrested him.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard the police helicopter was flying 800ft above Bangor, looking for a missing person who was thought to be at a high risk of taking their life.

The pilot noticed a beam of light, which flashed up to ten times, making him unable to see the high ground clearly. The helicopter climbed higher to avoid crashing, but the mission was disrupted.

Riley and his dog were tracked down by a patrol, who drew a Taser gun to arrest him. He had sent a child back to the travellers site for help.

The defence said Riley had needed counselling to address personal issues. But he had the prospect of working on a farm in Lancashire and insisted his life ”wasn’t without hope”.

Judge Huw Rees told Riley that his actions could have caused real consequences for the helicopter crew.

He was given six months detention, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and an activity for rehabilitation.

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