Belfast Telegraph

Police warning after laser pens shone at aircraft in Co Antrim

DUP's Adam Newton has condemned the laser attacks
DUP's Adam Newton has condemned the laser attacks
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Police have warned that people who point laser pens at aircraft in the skies over Northern Ireland could cause a catastrophic loss of life.

The warning comes after a spate of incidents in Co Antrim.

Four were reported in Newtownabbey in the last week. The latest report occurred in the Jordanstown area on Friday night.

Officers described the actions as those responsible as potentially catastrophic.

PSNI Inspector McCarron said: "Thankfully no one was injured or vision-impaired as a result of this extremely dangerous and reckless behaviour.

"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 and where pilots are concerned, this could result in a catastrophe and possibly lead to significant loss of life.

"Those involved in this type of activity need to be mindful of the impact which their behaviour could have.

"Those involved could face charges of being in possession of a dangerous weapon.

"If you use lasers in this way, you must be prepared to face the consequences."

Adam Newton, a DUP councillor for the Titanic electoral area which includes the George Best Belfast City Airport, described those responsible as "reckless fools".

He warned their actions could cause a huge disaster and a major loss of life.

Mr Newton said: "Police have had four reported incidents of nitwits who think it's fun to target pilots with laser pens, potentially damaging their sight, [and causing] major concerns across the east of the city.

"My constituency has high-density housing on the take-off and landing flight paths and anything that causes a distraction to pilots places my constituents at severe risk.

"Whether it's one or more persons who are engaged in this dangerous and foolhardy activity, it must stop."

Mr Newton urged anyone with information on those responsible to contact police.

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