Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Laser-wielding yobs who attack passenger jets are escaping punishment

Post Thumbnail

Startling figures have revealed nearly 4,000 reports of laser attacks on plane and helicopter cockpits at British airports in the last three years.

They have temporarily blinded pilots during take-off and landing sparking fears of potentially catastrophic consequences.

But, despite the inherent dangers, only THREE people have been prosecuted in Scotland and 83 south of the Border over the same period.

Last night, air industry chiefs blasted the yobs playing “Russian roulette” with hundreds of passengers’ lives, and said more needs to be done to crack down on them.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), said: “Across the country there is a large gap between the number of incidents reported by pilots and the number of prosecutions brought.

“We want all UK police forces to reaffirm their commitment to tackling this mindlessness given the possible threat to flight safety.”

The latest figures have been published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s aviation regulator.

They reveal 3,984 laser attacks on aircraft between January 2012 and September 2014. Of those, 1,019 were recorded in the first nine months of last year alone.

They include 44 at Glasgow airport and 31 at Edinburgh airport. In northern England, there were 37 reports at Newcastle, 78 at Manchester and 53 at Leeds Bradford.

But despite the huge number of attacks, figures released under Freedom of Information laws show only five people have been reported to prosecutors in Scotland over the past three years. Two of the cases were dropped because of lack of evidence.

Scottish Labour’s Justice spokesperson, Hugh Henry MSP, said it is “unbelievable that we still have morons who think it’s fun to shine a laser at an aircraft.

“This is madness,” he added. “It’s dangerous and could endanger hundreds of lives.

“Sentencing is a matter for the courts, but if the evidence suggests that judges don’t have sufficient sentencing powers then the Scottish Government needs to look at this.”

Howver Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said there was “absolutely no prospect” of an increase in the conviction rate because of the closure of sheriff courts across Scotland.

“The courts left behind are already over-stretched with work,” she said. “That’s going to do nothing to deter what is a serious and potentially very damaging offence.”

A CAA spokesperson said: “Being dazzled and temporarily blinded by an intense light could potentially lead to flight crew losing control of the aircraft.

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is now a specific criminal offence and we strongly urge anyone who observes a laser being used at night in the vicinity of an airport to contact the police immediately.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office said it takes such offences very seriously.

“Recently issued guidance to Prosecutors provides that where there is sufficient credible evidence there is a presumption that solemn proceedings will be taken,” their spokesman added.

Meanwhile, the number of emergency calls from pilots running into trouble has soared.

There were 1,157 ‘mayday’ and ‘pan’ meaning urgent action needed calls logged by air traffic controllers at UK airports or from British operators abroad a four-year record.

It compares with 771 in 2011. Some have been from engines overheating or near misses with birds, drones and other aircraft.