THE 53-year-old man accused of shining a light at a police helicopter pleaded not guilty to the charge as he appeared at Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court this morning (Friday).

Nicholas Michael Hawkins, of Heathfield Road, Bembridge, denied the charge of directing or shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot on March 26.

Magistrates granted unconditional bail and set a provisional trial date of August 15.

Police originally believed a laser had been shone at the National Police Air Service helicopter, but it turned out to be an LED torch.