Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Laser pens put aircraft in danger over Kent

Green laser
Police warn anyone caught shining lasers at planes faces criminal charges

Aircraft flying over a Kent town have been targeted by someone using a laser pen, police have revealed.

Air traffic control officers contacted Kent Police on Sunday after a green beam of light was shone at aircraft as they flew over Sittingbourne.

Police have warned the actions could endanger the lives of air crews and the communities they pass over.

Officers warned anyone caught shining a laser pen at aircraft risks a criminal record.

Jail sentence

Insp David Coleman said: "I would like to encourage parents to be aware if their children have laser pen lights and if they do to warn them of the dangers and possible consequences.

"I also want people to be aware that we will prosecute and put before the courts anyone involved in this type of offence, and anyone found guilty will end up with a criminal record."

In May 2009 a 21-year-old was jailed after shining a light into the cockpit of a passenger plane as it approached Cardiff airport.

He was handed a 10-month sentence for endangering the safety of the aircraft as well as drugs offences.

In January 2009 a teenager was sent to a young offenders institution for four months after a light he shone at a plane at Durham Tees Valley Airport temporarily blinded the pilot, forcing him to hand control to his co-pilot.

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