A LASER was shone at a police helicopter as it flew over Newport last night.

The latest happened at 10.15pm and resulted in the crew being hampered while it was carrying out a task.

Laser attacks can cause temporary blindness and lasting eye damage.

The National Police Air Service (NPAS) has been subjected to 70 laser attacks in the last year.

Ollie Dismore, Director of Operations for the National Police Air Service said: "Continued laser attacks on aircraft worldwide is a source of serious concern to the aviation industry. In an attack, a laser pointer is deliberately or recklessly shone at airborne aircraft, sometimes persistently over a period of minutes. The impact on a pilot is at the very least distracting, but can be serious enough to cause temporary 'flash' blindness and in some cases; lasting eye damage.

The frequency of these attacks in the UK alone is at a worrying level with around 1380 laser strikes on aircraft last year officially reported to the Civil Aviation Authority. What may seem harmless fun to the culprit could potentially have devastating consequences for the crew and passengers in the aircraft, innocent members of the public on the ground as well as potentially causing harm to those police aircraft are there to protect because we cannot go about our business.

Shining laser pens at any transport operator is proposed to become an offence under new legislation. The new law will mean that police will only have to prove the offence of shining the laser and will ultimately make it even safer for aircraft travel both now and in the future.

The National Police Air Service is working with colleagues from across the UK aviation sector in order to manage this risk and to reduce the number of flight crews that become victims of these attacks. We are currently conducting a laser protective eyewear trial which we hope will better support us to protect our staff against this threat in future."