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Air Crash Warning over Lasers

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6:57am 29th August 2012

There is a warning Cornwall could face an air disaster because of laser pens.

Pirate FM has learnt over the last year Newquay airport has been targeted, along with the plane carrying the Olympic flame at Culdrose.

Police helicopter pilots have also been dazzled while flying urgent missions. PC Joe Matthews is on the crew. He said: "This type of laser attack is not limited to police helicopters. We have had reports that range from airliners at 30,000ft to aircraft on final approach into our regions busiest airports. The act itself is incredibly reckless and it is only through good fortune that we have not seen a disaster.”

In 2007, there were 29 reported attacks in the UK, three years later in 2010 this has risen to over 1,400. In Devon and Cornwall the police helicopter crew say they have been targeted twenty times in just six months.

PC Matthews added: “This type of incident is not unique to Devon and Cornwall, indeed nationally and internationally the crime is rising exponentially. This crime crosses all generations from children who get hold of these handheld lasers and don’t consider the risks to adults who should know better.

“Through education and publicity we wish to stamp out this dangerous activity however where education fails and the message doesn’t get through we will continue to utilise all our resources, including the police helicopter, to locate, identify and bring to justice anybody who endangers people in this manner.”
The warning comes after the first person was prosecuted under the new laws.
See the moment a nineteen year old targets the police helicopter with a laser, forcing it to call off its search for a vulnerable man. Stephen Jones from Torquay was found guilty of shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot. He was convicted and received a fine of £250 and was ordered to pay £100 in costs and victim charges. The court also ordered the laser be destroyed.
6:57am 29th August 2012

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