Teen shone laser in face of train driver at Longton station
POLICE today condemned the actions of a teenager who almost caused a rail crash by shining a laser pen directly into the eyes of a train driver.
The culprit was part of a gang of young people hanging around at Longton station when the incident happened just as a train was passing through the station.
The driver of the Crewe-to-Derby service managed to keep control, despite the glare from the object that was being deliberately flashed in his face.
But by the time police arrived at the scene, the youth responsible for the incident had run away from the station.
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British Transport Police today urged anyone with information about the person involved to come forward.
And they also warned that lives were being put at risk in North Staffordshire by the thoughtless behaviour of vandals at train stations or alongside train tracks.
The train was travelling through the station just before 6pm on Thursday, February 14, when the drama unfolded.
Details of the incident have only just been released by transport police.
Inspector Sonja Simister, officer in charge at British Transport Police, said: "I cannot over emphasise the danger of actions such as these.
"I call on anyone who knows those responsible, or who has information about the incident, to come forward."
The train driver, who is not believed to have been hurt, reported the incident straight afterwards.
Inspector Simister added: "He reported youths had shone a laser pen into his eyes.
"This not only distracted the driver, but could have had serious consequences as the driver's eyes were momentarily affected by the pen."
Councillor Kath Banks, who represents the Longton West area on Stoke-on-Trent City Council, also branded the actions of the youths as 'irresponsible'.
She said: "They don't realise how much damage they can do through something like this. You can also damage a person's eyes with a laser pen.
"We have got a problem with laser pens and we have to sort it out.
"This was a very silly, irresponsible thing to do and it put lives in danger."
A spokesman for East Midlands Trains, which runs Longton Station, said: "This kind of behaviour is totally irresponsible and we will work with our BTP colleagues to ensure the offenders are apprehended quickly."
Anyone with information about the incident should contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040.
Alternatively, they can ring the confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.