A man shining a laser through a window at a police helicopter interrupted a search for a driver.

Last night, the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter from Bournemouth was sent to Southampton to help find a vehicle which had failed to stop for police.

While flying over Portswood, a laser was shone at the cockpit of the helicopter, putting the pilot in danger.

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Officers on the ground tracked down the source and arrested a 60-year-old man for offences under the Laser Misuse Act 2018. He was taken into custody and a laser device was seized.

On X last night, formerly known as Twitter, a spokesperson for Hampshire Roads Policing Unit said: “Earlier today we had a vehicle which failed to stop for us in Southampton.

“We were thankful for the assistance from NPAS who attended from Bournemouth to help with the search for the vehicle.

“However, this clearly was not appreciated by everyone as the aircraft was targeted from an address in the Portswood area by a laser device, which was quickly identified by NPAS.

“Being close by, we were more than happy to assist our high-flying colleagues and locate the suspect.”

The man received a conditional caution for the offence of shining or directing a laser beam towards a land or water vehicle or aircraft.

People who target aircraft, road vehicles, or boats risk facing a 12-month prison sentence under the Laser Misuse Act 2018.

This is not the first time such an incident has happened in the area.

During July and August last year, five separate flights – either departing or arriving at Southampton Airport – were targeted with lasers, with the airport describing the incidents as ‘reckless.’

At the time, Eastleigh and Hedge End Inspector Andy Mooge said: “This activity is highly dangerous and irresponsible during any phase of flight, however during critical times such as landings at night, it is especially dangerous."

He added: “It is not illegal to possess a laser pen, but we are keen to stress to both adults and children that these items are dangerous, especially when shone directly at an aircraft.”