AN 18-year-old man has been arrested after trying to shine a laser pen into the eyes of a police helicopter pilot.

The incident was slammed as incredibly dangerous, by officers.

The helicopter was flying over Blackburn at 1.45am on Saturday, having been called off a search for a missing person, when the pilot noticed the beams.

Inspector Ian Cooper said: “With all the equipment a police helicopter has, the pilot was able to locate the person responsible and radio the ground crews to pick them up.

“There has been a spate of these type of incidents in recent years, with the growing popularity of laser pens, and people don’t realise how dangerous they can be.

“If they are shone into someones eyes, they can be temporarily blinded, and for a pilot, that could have very serious consequences.

“In this case, luckily, the pilot was unaffected, and the helicopter was not in danger.”

Officers on the ground spoke to a group of men travelling in a car in Willow Street, Blackburn, before arresting one man.

In 2009, a Nelson man was given a 12-month community order with 80 hours’ unpaid work, after shining a laser pen at a police helicopter from his garden.