Laser Louts' Crackdown; TOUGH NEW LAW TO TACKLE YOBS WHO THREATEN PLANES

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), January 13, 2010 | Go to article overview

Laser Louts' Crackdown; TOUGH NEW LAW TO TACKLE YOBS WHO THREATEN PLANES


Byline: SARA NICHOL

LASER louts who target passengerpacked planes face a tough new crackdown.

The Civil Aviation Authority has introduced a specific charge for offenders to try and combat soaring rates of the "extremely dangerous" crime.

Shining a light or laser at the cockpit of an aircraft can dazzle the pilot and cause a severe safety risk.

Previously, anyone caught may have been charged with 'recklessly endangering an aircraft'.

But, under a new law, offenders may now be charged with 'shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle the pilot', which is expected to increase the conviction rate.

And with Newcastle Airport a hotspot for laser incidents, the move has been welcomed.

Will Dougherty, operations director at Newcastle, said: "We welcome the introduction of this new law, making the shining of laser devices at aircraft a criminal offence.

"Anything which gives greater powers to the authorities to deal with those who attempt to endanger air safety is a very positive step forward."

The number of incidents with lasers at Newcastle has rocketed during the last three years.

In 2007, just two offences were recorded but that number rose to seven in 2008 and then soared to 24 last year. …

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