Pilots and passengers in laser pen danger

MORE and more incidents are being reported where people are targeting aircraft with laser pens as they make their approach into Bristol Airport.

A man has been jailed for shining a laser pen at a police helicopter in Weston in an act the Crown Prosecution Service says has become ‘increasingly prevalent’ in the area.

Alexander Nicholls, aged 23, of Clifton Road, Weston, was jailed for six months when he appeared at North Somerset Courthouse on July 9, after admitting shining the laser pen at the Avon & Somerset Constabulary helicopter when it was hovering over the resort on May 12.

During the hearing, Jane Cooper, prosecuting, said the use of laser pens to target aircraft on the airport flight path had become ‘increasingly prevalent’.

So far this year there have been 31 reported laser hits against aircraft in Avon and Somerset, compared to 26 for the same period last year.

A spokesman for Bristol Airport said: “The growing number of incidents of this nature at airports across the UK is a concern for all involved in aviation.

“Safety is of paramount importance, and at Bristol Airport we take any incident with the potential to endanger aircraft extremely seriously.

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“We work closely with air traffic control to ensure any incidents are reported immediately, enabling the police to pinpoint the location of the offence and take action against those responsible.”

Superintendent Ian Smith, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Operations Unit, said: “Anyone who shines a laser at an aircraft performs a dangerous and reckless act.

“Anyone found to be involved in this type of action, regardless of the aircraft or vehicle targeted, will be dealt with robustly.”