A man has been charged after a laser was aimed at a police helicopter as its crew searched for a missing woman.

Marius Dimitri, 43, of Norwich Drive, Brighton, has been charged with shining or directing a laser beam towards a land or water vehicle or aircraft under Section 1 of the Misuse of Lasers Act of 2018.

He has been given strict bail conditions to surrender all laser devices to police and is prohibited from purchasing, owning, or having possession of a device capable of projecting a laser beam.

Dimitri is due to appear at court on February 29.

The National Police Air Service helicopter was above the Kings Cliff area in Brighton at around 10.30pm on Thursday (February 1) to search for the missing woman.

The woman was found but during the search a laser was aimed at the crew as they flew overhead.

“Laser attacks on aircraft are an extremely serious offence and can result in a prison sentence,” said an NPAS spokeswoman.

The Argus: Another image from the helicopter as it searched for the womanAnother image from the helicopter as it searched for the woman (Image: NPAS)

“Distracting a pilot could have disastrous consequences for the crew and people on the ground. But also it wastes precious time that the crew need to find highly vulnerable missing people and potentially save a life.

“We will pursue prosecution in every single case because we have the capability of pinpointing exactly who is committing the offence, and recording the necessary evidence against them.”

In September last year, an air ambulance crew member feared his sight was damaged after he was hit in the eye by a laser.

READ MORE: Arrest after laser pointed at helicopter during Brighton police search

Technical crew member Alex Clark was sitting next to the pilot in the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as it was flying when the laser penetrated his night vision goggles and burned the cornea on his right eye.

Mr Clark, 30, told the PA news agency: “I couldn’t see for about 30 seconds and, after that, I got quite blurred vision.”

His vision blurred the next morning so he went to an optician who told him he had a burn on his cornea. Mr Clark’s eye healed in the days that followed.