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Reports of laser attacks on planes on the increase

Lasers can temporarily blind pilots

A Yorkshire MP says more legislation is needed to stop laser pen attacks on airline pilots.

Greg Mullholland, who represents Leeds North West, says it is a particular problem at Leeds Bradford airport,where half of pilots over the last 12 months have reported laser pen attacks.

Shining a laser at a plane became a criminal offence in 2010. The Civil Aviation Authority says pilots can be temporarily blinded by the beam and the pointers pose a serious safety risk especially during take-off or landing.

Mr Mulholland raised the issue in Parliament, asking Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin what could be done to stop the 'dangerous practice", suggesting licensing or even classification of the pens as offensive weapons.

Mr McLoughlin replied that there were a number of measures being considered across Government departments and it was something he took very seriously, particularly in the light of certain recent events.

Helicopter crew in laser danger

The search has started for a person who sone a laser at an army helicopter, putting the crew's lives at risk.

The Lynx helicopter, which is based with the Army Air Corp at Dishforth, was flying over Ripon when it happened before 10pm on 9 October.

It is believed the person using the high powered laser was in the Victoria Grove junction with the All Hallow Gate area of the city.

Police officers, with help from the helicopter crew, searched the area, but were not able to find the person responsible.

I cannot condemn this act of utter stupidity strongly enough. As well as causing the flight crew considerable difficulty and putting their lives at risk, the consequences had the helicopter crashed are unthinkable.

I urge anyone who can help to identify those responsible for this reckless act to come forward and contact the police or Crimestoppers immediately.

– Temporary Chief Inspector Sarah Sanderson, of Harrogate Safer Neighbourhood Command


"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