Yob used laser pen on firefighter

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A UNION has slammed the “idiotic behaviour” of a yob who used a laser pen to intimidate a Wigan firefighter.

As the fire service was called to a bonfire in Grenfell Close, in Worsley Mesnes, at 7pm on Sunday, one youth – thought to be around 10 or 11 years old – deliberately shone the offensive weapon in the face of a crew member.

Watch manager Gareth Gray, of Wigan Fire Service, said: “We were called to Grenfell Close twice and when we went a second time, a youth, thought to be 10 or 11 years old shone a light in a crew member’s face.

“I want to warn people of the dangers of laser pens.

“We have quite a few incidents like this and we are looking to prosecute people if we catch them.”

Kevin Brown, regional secretary for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), said: “It is not illegal to own a laser pen, but it is an offence to shine them in someone’s face, especially when it is in a dangerous environment, near fires.

“This year, we have seen an increase of incidents where members across the whole of Greater Manchester have been attacked, whether it be bricks thrown at fire engines, stones thrown or being blinded by laser pens.

“We condemn these idiots and anti-social behaviour and we hope that if these people are caught, they will be dealt with appropriately by the courts.”

The police have been informed, and they are currently waiting for official statements from firefighters to be made.

According to the UK Health Protection Agency, laser pens can cause retinal damage and it recommends products sold to the public should be restricted to devices with power less than 1 Milliwatt, in accordance with the British Standard.

The laser pointers should also be accompanied by sufficient information on how to operate them safely.