POLICE have issued a warning over the dangers of laser pens after one was shone at a car in County Durham.
Officers in Shildon say they were contacted by a concerned motorist who reported having a device pointed towards their car as they drove along Church Street, in the town, on Friday, March 11, at about 7pm.
Laser pens can cause momentary blindness for anyone who has direct eye exposure with them, and police warned the culprits that should this result in an accident, they could be arrested and charged.
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A Shildon Police spokesman said: “What may seem like a bit of harmless fun to some people, can have very serious consequences for drivers.
“Lasers can dazzle and cause momentary blindness for anyone who has direct eye exposure.
“This can result in an accident, injury and even death, should a driver have a collision as a result of being blinded.
“If this was to happen, then the person responsible for shining the laser would be arrested and charged.
“Laser pens carry a warning label for a reason.”
A spokeswoman from Brake, the road safety charity, added: “People shining laser pens at motorists appears to be a growing phenomenon, which is a real cause for concern.
“If this type of dangerous behaviour results in a car crash, we would call on the police to prosecute those who are responsible.”
In 2011, a 17-year-old youth was charged with two counts of recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or person, after shining a laser pen at a holiday jet flying into Newcastle Airport and at a police helicopter which was investigating the incident.
He appeared before Consett Magistrates Court, where he was sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order with 12 months of supervision and 60 hours of community work.
Anyone who falls victim to such an incident, or anyone who has information on those responsible for the incident in Church Street, should call Shildon Police on 101 or the independent charity, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.