Shropshire

Laser pen shone at police helicopter in Telford

A police helicopter has been targeted by laser pens while on operations over Telford at the weekend.

The aircraft was supporting officers on the ground in stopping a vehicle after a ram-raid when a laser was shone at the pilot.

It was also targeted while investigating a break-in at the Asda store in Telford town centre.

The crew said the laser light, which can travel thousands of feet, could have temporarily blinded the pilot.

Laser pens are sold as office equipment, to point out details on presentations, but police said they were also potentially-dangerous weapons.

Police said that it did not affect the result of the operation to stop the vehicle involved in a ram raid. Two people were arrested in the incident.

'Bat signal'

The air crew posted on their official Twitter feed that people pointing the lasers did not realise that they also were giving away their location.

"It's just like the bat signal. We can see exactly where they are and they get arrested," the crew said.

The Central Counties Air Support Helicopter covers Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire.

The Eurocontrol air traffic control organisation said there had been a significant rise in the number of incidents involving laser pointers in recent years.

From just 30 incidents reported in the UK in 2007, there have been more than 1,600 in the first nine months of this year.

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