NEW measures to tackle the sale of unsafe laser pointers, including strengthening safeguards to stop high-powered lasers entering the country, have been announced by the Government.

Ministers said, following a recent increase in the number of incidents involving lasers, additional support will be offered to local authority ports and borders teams.

Increased checks will be made at borders, including testing products to ensure they are safe.

More than 150 incidents of eye injuries involving laser pointers have been reported since 2013, mainly involving children.

In 2016, the Civil Aviation Authority received reports of 1258 laser incidents, with Heathrow the most frequent location for reports of the devices being used recklessly.

Laser beam attacks against the rail network are also a concern, with 578 laser incidents reported by the British Transport Police between April 2011 and last November.

Margot James, above, the UK Government’s consumer minister, said: “The Government has listened to concerns from pilots, health professionals and safety experts, which is why we are going further than ever before to crack down on the sale of unsafe devices.

“Public safety is of the utmost importance and we are working to increase the public’s knowledge of the potential dangers associated with these devices and strengthening the penalties for when they are misused.”

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, said: “This is more welcome news from the Government on lasers and shows that they are taking this important issue seriously.

“The Department for Transport recently announced the introduction of new tougher laws for those who shine lasers at aircraft.

“Now the tougher restrictions on importation should hopefully stop high-powered lasers reaching the hands of those with ill-intentions in the first place.

“Shining a laser at an aircraft is extremely dangerous and has the potential to cause a crash that could be fatal to not only those on board, but people on the ground too.”