Saturday, 17 September 2016

Man jailed for shining powerful torch at RAF jets flying over his home

A man has been jailed for 18 months for endangering aircraft after shining a powerful torch at RAF jets flying training missions over his island home.
John Arthur Jones, a former council housing director, was upset by the constant movement of jets over his land in, so he decided to take powerful torch aiming at jets that flew over his place. The lights were dangerously distracting for pilots of Hawk who trained for combat at that area had to abort landing.
Jailing him at Mold crown court, the judge said: “You possess an abundance of self-belief in your own ability to achieve things, which transcends all reason and which is born out of profound arrogance. The consequences could have been devastating. Your conduct became a campaign over a long period of time.”
Jones, 66, denied 13 charges of endangering aircraft between November 2013 and September 2014 but a jury found him guilty. 
Instructors and pilots told the court how a sudden flash of light in the cockpit could be disastrous. The jury heard they were being trained at Mona airfield on the island for “touch and go” landings in readiness for conflict.
That could lead to a dangerous situation where a disorientated pilot might not believe his instruments and could lead to a crash, the court heard.
The RAF alerted the police. On one occasion a police helicopter was launched and a night vision camera caught a person on the veranda at Jones’s home with a light. Undercover officers were sent in and caught him shining a light at a jet.
Philpotts told the court Jones was so annoyed that he threatened at one point to fly a weather balloon above his land to obstruct the jets but did not carry out the idea. “It is the prosecution case that he became obsessed with the activity of the aircraft,” Philpotts added.
Jones had denied that he had a vendetta against the RAF because the jet noise had destroyed his plans to build luxury holiday lodges. But the judge said he believed he had blamed the RAF for blighting his business scheme.

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