A MAN has been arrested for shining a laser at a police helicopter flying over Horsforth.

The incident happened in the early hours of Friday, March 9 as a National Police Air Service (NPAS) crew were searching for a car involved in a police chase.

After being targeted by the laser the helicopter team worked with police officers on the ground to find the offender.

A 49 year old man was tracked down and arrested, on suspicion of endangering an aircraft, near Leeds Bradford Airport.

He has been released under investigation by West Yorkshire Police.

Posting on Twitter, the NPAS crew said: "Whilst searching for vehicle involved in previous pursuit we were persistently lasered from Horsforth area.

"The source was identified and officers guided in, very close to @LBIAirport.

"One detained and a green laser device recovered.

"Excellent response from local units."

Director of Operations for the NPAS, Ollie Dismore, said the frequency of incidents involving lasers across the UK and beyond was at a 'worrying' level.

He said: "Continued laser attacks on aircraft worldwide is a source of serious concern to the aviation industry.

"In an attack, a laser is deliberately or recklessly shone at aircraft, sometimes persistently over a period of several minutes.

"The impact on a pilot is, at the very least, dangerously distracting but can be serious enough to cause temporary 'flash' blindness and, in some cases, lasting eye damage.

"The frequency of these attacks is at a worrying level with 1,532 laser strikes on UK aircraft in 2017 officially reported to the Civil Aviation Authority.

"What may seem harmless fun to the perpetrator could potentially have devastating consequences for the crew and passengers in the aircraft, and innocent members of the public on the ground.

"In the case of police aircraft we are routinely prevented from going about our business of protecting the public from harm due to these attacks."

He added that tougher new legislation is set to make shining laser pens at any transport operator an offence: "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 into 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 in the process of deploying laser protective eyewear for our crews which will allow continued, limited, operations in a laser environment."