A HOPEFUL young pilot has suffered a suspected laser burn to his eye after two laser attacks on aeroplanes.

The incidents ocurred on Tuesday, February 4 and Wednesday, 5 when two training aircraft were targeted with a green laser in the areas of Chipping Norton and Charlbury.

Both light aircraft had taken off on training flights from Oxford Airport, and Thames Valley Police is now appealing for information.

Both aircraft came from Leading Edge Aviation, a pilot training academy.

In the first incident, an aeroplane carrying three people had a laser shone at it at around 7.15pm in the Chipping Norton area.

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The 21-year-old pilot suffered a suspected laser burn to his eye.

The aircraft landed safely and the pilot was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital for treatment.

The extent of his injury is unknown at this time, although it is expected he will make a full recovery and return to training.

In the second incident, at around 5.45pm the following day, an aircraft from Pilot Flight training school was approximately three miles north of Charlbury when light from a laser was shone at it.

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On this occasion, nobody was injured and the aircraft landed safely.

Andy McFarlane, chief executive officer at Leading Edge Aviation, said: "We are appalled by the seriousness of these events and are working with Thames Valley Police to ensure this cannot happen again.

"We are proud of the professionalism shown by our crew in taking such decisive action, without which the consequences could have been far more serious.

"Not only did the crew remain calm under difficult circumstances, they used their professional training to ensure the safest outcome for the flight."

Investigating officer PC Renee Gabbey-Cristofini, based at Banbury police station, said: "These were extremely reckless acts which placed both aircraft in significant danger.

"The trainee pilot of the first aircraft suffered injuries to the back of his eye as a result of this attack and the injuries may result in him being unable to fulfil a career in aviation.

"The recklessness of such acts not only endangers the aircraft and all passengers on board, but also those on the ground, as attacks such as this seriously jeopardise safety.

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"We do not know exactly the origin of these laser attacks, but given that they both happened in close proximity to each other, I am appealing to anybody who has any information that can assist this investigation to contact police, quoting reference number 43200040257.

"Shining laser beams into the sky at aircraft is not acceptable, and we are investigating thoroughly.

"I am urging anybody who may have any information to please get in touch.

"If you do not wish to speak directly with police, you can also make a report online or call the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111."