Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Jack-Booted Thug(s) of the Week, International Edition...

... are the Bury St. Edmonds, England police who arrested grandfather Torben Merriott and subsequently grilled him for nine hours after he had the audacity to use a cheap flashlight in order to identify what was making the awful racket above his farmhouse in the middle of the night last month, and then quite reasonably called the government to complain about the noise:

"[Merriott] spotted one of two gunships [Apache helicopters] on an exercise just ‘10ft above my garden’ at his farmhouse in Stradbroke near Eye, Suffolk, and called the Ministry of Defence complaint line.

But instead of receiving an apology for the September 18 disturbance, Mr Merriott was visited three weeks later by police, who arrested him on suspicion of endangering an aircraft by dazzling the pilot."

They also confiscated his indeed dangerous to a pilot laser pointer Wal-Mart-style flashlight, which presented no hazard whatsoever to the aircraft:

(Picture is from the article)

"Don’t tell the Taliban that all they need is an eight
-quid torch to bring down multi-million-pound high-tech gunships,’ he said."

Ironically, the story reports that Merriott is a professional lighting director, and the company he owns has previously lit "up flying helicopters at a Buckingham Palace event hosted by the Queen".

Merriott may now be charged with aircraft endangerment, which would give him up to two years in the pokey.

He still hasn't gotten his flashlight back, by the way.

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