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Appeal for information following laser attacks on aircraft in Oxfordshire

Alert message sent 19/02/2020 15:31:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police

The incidents occurred on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 February after two training aircraft were targeted with a green laser in the areas of Chipping Norton and Charlbury in Oxfordshire.

Both aircraft had taken off on training flights from Oxford Airport.

In the first incident, the aircraft was carrying three people when a laser was shone at around 7.15pm in the Chipping Norton area.

The pilot, a 21-year-old man, was injured with the light from the laser causing a suspected laser burn to his eye.

The aircraft landed safely and the pilot was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital for treatment. The extent of his injury is unknown at this time.

In the second incident, at around 5.45pm the following day, an aircraft was approximately three miles north of Charlbury when light from a laser was shone at a plane.

On this occasion, nobody was injured and the aircraft landed safely.

Investigating officer PC Renee Gabbey-Cristofini, based at Banbury police station, said: “These were extremely reckless acts which placed both aircraft in significant danger.

“The trainee pilot of the first aircraft suffered injuries to the back of his eye as a result of this attack and the injuries may result in him being unable to fulfil a career in aviation.

“The recklessness of such acts not only endangers the aircraft and all passengers on board, but also those on the ground, as attacks such as this seriously jeopardise safety.

“We do not know exactly the origin of these laser attacks, but given that they both happened in close proximity to each other, I am appealing to anybody who has any information that can assist this investigation to contact police, quoting reference number 43200040257.

“Shining laser beams into the sky at aircraft is not acceptable, and we are investigating thoroughly.

“I am urging anybody who may have any information to please get in touch.

“If you do not wish to speak directly with police, you can also make a report online or call the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Message sent by
Emma Tarry (Police, Communications Officer, Thames Valley)

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