Published: 26/12/2017 10:48 - Updated: 22/12/2017 10:50

Laser appeal after lifeboat crew are targeted


RNLI Invergordon
The RNLI Invergordon was targeted by a laser pen during a training exercise.

A DINGWALL-based MSP has again called for a crackdown on the use of laser pens following a Ross-shire safety alert involving volunteer lifesavers.

Kate Forbes voiced "grave concerns" over the issue after a Ross-shire lifeboat crew revealed it had been targeted while out on a training exercise in the Cromarty Firth.

The incident last Monday evening prompted an appeal from Invergordon RNLI crew over the matter.

Kate Forbes, whose Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency takes in the Black Isle and whose office is in Dingwall, said: "I have previously raised my grave concerns about how freely available laser pens are and how little education there is about their use.

"I know there have been multiple examples of lasers being misused and this appears to be the latest example, although I do not have the full facts. Over the summer, I wrote to the UK Government because laser pens is a reserved matter to make the case about their damaging impact and to ask the UK Government how they intended to manage this growing problem.

"While most laser pens are used harmlessly, in the small number of cases where they are misused, the consequences can be devastating. It’s about time that the use of laser pens was better regulated or more information was circulated about the awful implications of misusing them."

The incident happened while members of Invergordon RNLI were taking part in a training exercise on Monday night between 7pm and 8.30pm.

The attack involved a green high-powered laser pen which was possibly used in a moving vehicle travelling between Cromarty and Jemimaville.

Crew member Michael Macdonald said: "I don’t understand why anyone would want to buy a high-powered laser pen. To shine it at someone in a helicopter, a car or a boat is highly irresponsible. It can cause serious issues if it comes into contact with someone’s eyes."

Fortunately none the seven strong crew taking part in the exercise was affected by the attack.

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