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"Tougher action" needed on "mindless" laser pen attacks

Tougher action is needed to tackle "mindless" laser pen attacks on aircraft near our region's airports, according to a Yorkshire MP.

Shining the lights into cockpits can dazzle pilots. The British Airline Pilots Association has warned those who do are playing "Russian roulette" with people’s lives.

New laws to combat the problem with harsher penalties were introduced last year.

But Greg Mulholland, the MP for Leeds North West, claims the "lack of significant reduction" in the number of incidents "indicates more should be done".

These attacks on aircraft are just mindless and the perpetrators are putting the lives of passengers and aircrew alike in serious danger.

Stronger regulation for those buying these pens is needed and tougher sentences need to be handed to those caught using them to endanger lives.

– Greg Mulholland MP (Lib Dem, Leeds North West)

The Liberal Democrat has tabled a Parliamentary motion urging the Department for Transport to consider "further action to tackle the problem".

The full Early Day Motion can be read here.

Teenager arrested over laser pen attack on helicopter

A 14 year old boy has been arrested following a laser pen attack on the Police helicopter. It is alleged the helicopter was repeatedly targeted with a green laser pen.

The crew on board used specialist equipment to direct officers on the ground to an address in Bradford and the teenager was arrested on suspicion of endangering the safety of an aircraft and a laser pen was seized. He has been bailed pending enquiries.

Passenger aeroplanes flying into Leeds Bradford Airport were also targeted in separate incidents with reports of lasers being shone at them from Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Bradford areas. The Police helicopter monitired the aircraft coming into the airport to ensure their safety.

"Shining a laser at an aircraft is very serious and potentially very dangerous. As well as putting the pilot and crew in danger, it can also delay the helicopter from dealing with jobs where time is of critical importance.

We take every single attack very seriously."

– John Whittaker, West Yorkshire Police Air Support Unit