A man who shone a laser at a Police helicopter whilst it was searching for a missing person in Brading last night (Tuesday) was later found to be in possession of an air rifle, Hampshire Constabulary have confirmed.

As first reported by Island Echo, a large number of Police officers and vehicles descended on the quiet town of Brading at around 20:30 last night. No less than 7 vehicles gathered in a car park off The Mall.

It is now known that Police were looking for a man with learning difficulties who had gone missing from the area. The National Police Air Service helicopter was drafted in to conduct an aerial sweep, which drew the attention of locals, but things took an unexpected turn during the operation.

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Police have confirmed that whilst the search was taking place the helicopter was made subject to a laser attack. The crew on board the chopper were able to maintain a safe operation and identified where the laser beam had been discharged from. They sighted a male holding what appeared to be a weapon.

Armed Police and response officers at The Mall in Brading last night

It has been confirmed this lunchtime that officers on the ground managed to locate the suspect and he was found to be in possession of an air rifle. He was spoken to by officers and enquiries are ongoing. It is a criminal act to use a laser pen to dazzle or distract the pilot of an aircraft.

The missing person was located safe and well at Yaverland beach shortly after 22:00, as previously reported.

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