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|Police warning after lasers shone at aircraft|
|Thursday, 05 January 2017 16:44|
Police are highlighting the dangers of shining laser pens at aircraft following a spate of reported incidents – one of which is thought to have originated from Bitterne Park.
Hampshire Constabulary say a laser light thought to come from the Itchen Bridge area of Southampton was shone into the flight path of a plane on the evening of December 30.
Another was targeted from the Mayfield Park area on January 2.
On January 3 a laser was aimed at a plane heading on a southbound departure path over the M27, while the next day a laser light was shone into the cockpit of an inbound flight. Police say the light “seemed to originate from the Bitterne Park area”.
In yet another reported incident on Thursday (Jan 5), a torch light was shone at the National Police Air Support Helicopter.
No one has yet been identified as being responsible – apart from yesterday's incident where a 70-year-old man was "given suitable advice" – and all flights landed safely.
'Dangerous and irresponsible'
But police have said that they may prosecute where laser pens have been used to dazzle the pilot of an aircraft.
Chief Inspector Beth Pirie described the activity as “highly dangerous and irresponsible”, especially at night. She said a large number of incidents involve young people whose parents don’t know their child owns a laser, or who think it’s a suitable toy.
“It is not illegal to possess a laser pen but we are keen to stress to both adults and children that these items are dangerous especially when shone directly at an aircraft. Lasers are not toys they could lead to serious visual impairment for life if used in an inappropriate way,” she said.
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