Police are warning of the dangers of using laser pens following recent reports of such devices being shone at aircrafts passing over areas of North Down, including Conlig, the A2 Bangor to Belfast carriageway and Crawfordsburn beach.
A police spokesperson said: “Not only is it an offence under the Air Navigation Order to endanger aircraft but it is highly irresponsible and dangerous. Lasers can cause temporary blindness, which, where pilots are concerned, can spell catastrophe.
“There have also been a number of reports of lasers being shone through windows of houses in the North Down area and police would remind everyone of the potential dangers this could also cause.”
North Down Green Party representative Steven Agnew said it was time for retailers of laser pens to impose sticker controls on their purchase.
“If these items can seriously damage people’s eyes then surely it is logical that we should control who buys them,” he said.
“We’ve seen restrictions imposed on who can buy aerosols and knives, so perhaps it’s time to consider putting laser pens into this category.”
A spokesman for the British Airline Pilots Association said that shining laser beams into aircraft cockpits had become an epidemic across the UK.
“This is a dangerous practice that can blind a captain and his co-pilot, causing a crash and the deaths of hundreds of people,” the spokesperson said.
“We are urging the police and courts to crack down on the people who do this and imprison, not fine, those responsible. We want to see all people who do this locked away.”
When contacted by The CT, George Best Belfast City Airport declined to comment.