A LASER pen, believed to have been shone from the Staines area, was aimed directly into the cockpit of an Austrian Airways flight as it was taking off from Heathrow on Saturday (July 17) night.
Shortly after 10pm, police were informed by one of the control towers at Heathrow Airport, that a pilot had reported a laser being shone at the aircraft, roughly three miles south of the runway.
It is believed to have come from the Ashford Road Area.
Councillor for Laleham and Shepperton Green and former British European Airways pilot, Richard Smith- Ainsley, said: "It's extremely dangerous because if it's done at night time you need night vision, and if somebody is shining a light into the cockpit it is very distracting. They don't blind you permanently, but fundamentally you don't want to be distracted when your in an important part of the flight. It's a very dangerous thing to do."
In January this year, a new law was introduced making it a criminal offence to shine laser pens at aircraft, following a reported increase at airports all over the country. At Heathrow, there were 29 reported incidents in 2009, compared to eight in 2008.
Police are keen to reiterate that shining a laser at an aircraft is a criminal offence.
Spelthorne neighbourhood inspector Sarah Greenhalgh, said: "Laser pens can be very powerful and to shine one into the cockpit of any aircraft during flight is extremely dangerous. It could easily blind or distract the pilot and puts everyone on board at risk. I want to send out the clear message to the public that endangering an aircraft is a criminal offence and it will not be tolerated. I feel certain that someone in the Ashford Road area must have seen something or know who committed this offence and I would urge that person to contact Surrey police immediately."
Anyone with any information, should contact Surrey police on 0845 125 2222, quoting reference SL/10/5660 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.