A CLYDEBANK man shone a laser at a police helicopter trying to find a missing person and claims they were "interfering with his civil liberties".

Gary Cameron failed to stop his attack on the chopper even as police arrived in his yard and told him to.

The 42-year-old pleaded guilty today to what was described by Sheriff William Gallacher as having potentially let to "catastrophe".

Around 9.10pm on September 5 last year, police were informed of a missing female in the Clydebank area and at 9.35pm, the police helicopter was dispatched to help with the search.

At 9.50pm, the crew of the aircraft informed their control that were being "subjected to repeated dazzling" as a result of a laser being shone at that.

Police on the ground were asked to assist in tracing the source of the laser, which was coming from a property in Trafalgar Street.

Fiscal depute David McDonald told Dumbarton Sheriff Court: "Officers on the ground were directed there and Gary Cameron was found in possession of a class two laser product.

"He continued to direct the laser product towards the helicopter, despite being asked to desist by officers on the ground.

"They approached him and informed him he was under arrest."

Sheriff Gallacher, noting the charge states Cameron shone the laser "to the danger" of crew and others asked Mr McDonald if he wanted to comment on that potential risk.

He said: "It seems this is an offence of the utmost gravity - the potential of damage to the eyes, disorientation, potential of crashing."

Mr McDonald added Cameron's actions showed "complete disregard for the crew" and police could speak to the distraction and the act could endanger them and those on the ground if the aircraft lost control.

Class two lasers have an output below 1 milliwatt and are sold as "pointers". Though they are relatively weak, they are still distracting and it is illegal to direct them at aircraft or vehicles.

Defence solicitor Jonathan Paul said he would prefer to wait until social work reports were prepared before offering any mitigation.

But he said his client had recently been discharged from Gartnavel Hospital after seeking treatment "off his own back". Cameron had previously worked in the oil services and had "severe mental health" issues, he said.

Mr Paul said his client referred to an "interference in the sky" and when pressed by the sheriff as to what that meant, he replied: "He saw these aircraft as interfering with his civil liberties."

Sheriff Gallacher, deferring sentence to June 27, said: "I'm concerned about Mr Cameron's behaviour, even having been told to stop by the police and I'm concerned about whether he justifies his liberty today.

"The possibility of catastrophe is enormous. I find it very hard how I can not impose a custodial sentence on you."

Cameron was released on bail until his sentencing.