Calls for ban on the laser pen yobs
YOBS are risking lives as new figures show hundreds of people are committing offences using laser pens.
Police data has revealed there were 284 incidents in the region over the last two years - that’s one laser pen attack every two days in Cheshire.
These include incidents where the high-powered beams were aimed at aircraft, road vehicles, and directly at people’s faces - risking causing collisions or causing permanent eye damage.
In March last year David Blizycki, 26, and Artur Chat, 23, from Macclesfield, were jailed after they admitting shining a laser pen at a police helicopter.
The worrying statistics have prompted calls for the pens to be officially classed as offensive weapons.
Public Health England has called for a restriction on laser pens being sold the public which are any stronger than one milliwatt.
However, devices, which can cost between £20 and £200 and are legally available in the UK, are up to 100 times more powerful than those recommended by the government health body.
Stephen Landells, a flight safety expert at the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), called for a change in the law and warned of terrible consequences for singlepilot aircraft and helicopters as the power of lasers available to the public continues to increase.
He said: “The law says you can’t carry a knife without good reason - a carpet fitter going into a building in the afternoon has a reason to carry a knife. But someone walk- ing down the street at 11pm outside a pub doesn’t.
“We want lasers to come under that same legislation so the police can say we have reasonable suspicion and they can be arrested.”
Greater Manchester Police, which covers Manchester Airport, responded to 1,039 laser pen calls during the same period 2014 and 2015. Of that figure, 156 incidents directly involved aircraft.
Nationally, there have been almost 6,500 police reports involving laser pens since 2014, including more than 400 cases of aircraft being targeted as well as dozens of emergency service helicopters.
Of the forces to respond to the request for information, Greater Manchester recorded the most incidents, followed by Northumbria Police and Sussex Police. British Transport Police said they had dealt with 151 incidents nationally.
Anyone caught shining a laser pen at a plane or helicopter could face a charge of endangering an aircraft.
‘We want lasers to come under legislation... so they can be arrested’
●● The moment a laser pen on the ground hit the camera on the police helicopter