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Endangering aircraft incidents – West Berkshire

News   •   Jan 29, 2019 13:30 GMT

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a number of incidents in which a laser has been shone at civilian and military aircraft flying over West Berkshire.

A number of reports have been made to police about a high powered green beam shining over the past few months.

This includes incidents of lasers being shone:

  • At 7.30pm on 24 October when two military Apaches flying together near Enborne were targeted.
  • At 6.45pm on 30 November a pilot reported a green laser being shone approximately five miles west of Newbury.
  • At 5.45pm on 12 December a laser was shone at a military Apache helicopter travelling over Marsh Benham
  • At 5.35pm on 12 December a laser strike took place against a plane in the Welford area
  • At 5.45pm on 8 January a report was received that a laser was shone at aircraft flying over Newbury
  • At 5.50pm on 9 January at a civilian helicopter in the vicinity of Newbury Racecourse

Officers are appealing for witnesses to all of the incidents and people in the community are being encouraged to ring police immediately if they become aware of a sighting of a laser in the sky, to allow officers to respond while the incident is ongoing.

PC Darryl MacAndrew, of the West Berkshire Problem Solving Team, said: “These are very serious incidents which carry a high level of risk that could ultimately prove fatal. Pilots can become dazzled by lasers which can put the aircraft at risk.

“Offenders will be dealt with robustly - offences under the Aviation Act 1982 - endangering aircraft - could lead to a life sentence. Those who are prosecuted for offences under the Laser Misuse Act 2018 can also be subject to five years’ imprisonment.

“We are keeping an open mind as to whether any of the incidents are linked.”

If you have any information about the incidents please call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 or call 999 if a crime is in progress.

If you do not wish to speak to police please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.