England

Laser pen 'attacks' rise by 270% in Surrey

The number of incidents involving laser pens being deliberately pointed at people or vehicles has increased by 270% in Surrey, police have said.

Surrey Police said 37 offences were reported in the past six months compared to 10 for the same period in 2010.

Officers said the rise in attacks aimed at aircraft from Gatwick Airport was "of particular concern".

The increase follows national trends, according to the force.

Ch Supt Charlie Doyle, of Surrey Police, said offenders could face jail.

'Manslaughter charge'

He added: "People using these pens may think it's an innocent prank but the potential effect on an aircraft on take off or coming in for landing could be catastrophic.

"Surrey Police will deal robustly with any incident involving laser lights, whether it is an assault on another member of the public or a device being pointed at a vehicle.

"Laser pen owners should also be aware that Surrey Police's collision investigation unit can pursue a manslaughter charge if it is found that a fatal or life changing injury collision is due to the use of a laser light."

Police said in the six-month period in 2010, there were two incidents involving aircraft, two involving vehicles and six involving people or premises.

In the past six months there have been 14 incidents involving aircraft, eight involving vehicles and 15 involving people or premises.

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