A 44-year-old man has been arrested over allegations he pointed lasers at a police Eagle helicopter in Canterbury this week.
Since Monday, a police Eagle helicopter from Auckland has been used on a trial basis in Christchurch. It is set to patrol the Wainoni and New Brighton areas for the next five weeks.
On Monday alone, the first day the chopper took to Christchurch's sky, there were two laser incidents.
Canterbury Police said in a Facebook post today that the helicopter crew had been able to direct police on the ground to an address where a man was arrested.
Deliberately shining a laser at an aircraft can cause a pilot to be temporarily blinded as well as becoming disorientated. Authorities say this can in turn cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft.
The man has been charged with possession of a restricted weapon and is set to appear in the Christchurch District Court next Tuesday.
“The lasering of an aircraft is totally unacceptable behaviour and could cause serious harm to the crew of Eagle who are there for the protection and safety of all of Christchurch,” Canterbury police wrote in the post.
If convicted, the man could face a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
During its first few flights, the Eagle helicopter was kept at an altitude of at least 1500 metres for the consideration of residents.
However, not all locals were happy as some took to social media to air their frustration about the noise.
In the post, Canterbury police said they acknowledge the noise is new for the community and every effort is being taken to reduce any possible disruption.