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Laser pens 'putting pilots at risk' say Hampshire police

Police have also had to contend with being dazzled by laser pens Credit: PA

Hampshire Police say a growing number of laser pen incidents at Southampton airport are putting planes at risk.

Between Christmas and the New Year, four incidents were reported in which a high powered laser light was shone into the flightpath of incoming or outgoing aircraft.

Police say the lights appeared to originate from different locations, but in each case, officers were dispatched to search for the source. No one has yet been identified.

The flights all landed safely but police say the increase in incidents is worrying and potentially very dangerous.

In the past, pilots have spoken about how debilitating it can be to have such a bright light shone into the cockpit

Laser pens are readily available on-line

The pens are not illegal and readily available on-line, but police want to highlight the dangers

This activity is highly dangerous and irresponsible during any phase of flight, however during critical times such as landings at night, it is especially dangerous.

"Incidents involving lasers being pointed at vehicles, such as planes, boats or cars and people, are increasing nationally.

A large number of these incidents involve young people whose parents are not aware their child owns a laser or believe it is 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."

– Chief Insp Beth Pirie, Hampshire Police