Youths shine laser pen into the eyes of fire engine driver

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Firefighters were lucky to avoid a serious accident after a group of youths shone a laser pen into the eyes of their driver.

The crew from Wigan was on its way to a small fire when the incident happened, temporarily blinding the driver of the fire engine and causing him to slam the brakes on.

The crew believe the group of three teenage boys, who ran off, also started the fire on land off Comet Road in Marsh Green at around 10pm on Monday night.

Watch manager Jim Clitheroe, who was in the passenger seat and also had the laser pen shone at him, said their actions were extremely dangerous as they could have caused a serious accident.

He said: “On Monday night we were targeted on route to an incident when laser pens were shone at us.

“The fire was a small rubbish fire but youths at the incident targeted both myself and the driver with laser pens.

“The driver had to slam on because they were shining them in his eyes and it could have caused a serious accident. It is so dangerous.

“We were responding with blue lights and going at blue light speed but because we’re going through B roads we weren’t going that fast. If something had been coming the other way it could have been a lot worse.

“The fire was small but it had been started by the youths. We tried to talk to them about what they had done but they ran off.”

Calls have been made for tougher action to be taken against people found carrying laser pens following a huge increase in reports of them being shone into aeroplane cockpits and at oncoming traffic.

It is the second time this year that a fire crew have been targeted by youths armed with laser pens.

In April, firefighters from Hindley were called to Newbridge Learning Community after a fire alarm was set off.

The group of youths, who triggered the alarm, shone a heavy duty laser at the crew and were also shining it at passing drivers.

The police have been informed about the incident on Tuesday night and have launched an investigation.

They are asking any witnesses to contact them on 101 quoting log number 2500.