NEW measures are being taken to crackdown on the sale of laser pointers, with Scottish airports among the worst areas in the UK for related incidents.

The UK Government has announced new measures to tackle the sale of unsafe laser devices, including strengthening safeguards to stop the high-powered lasers entering the country.

The move has been welcomed by a number authorities, including the Scottish Government and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA).

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The gadgets, which create a beam of intense light, can cost less than £10 but can do real damage if used inappropriately.

Beaming them into cockpits can temporarily blind pilots, even if they are flying at thousands of feet off the ground.

Prosecutions can be raised under the common law offence of culpable and reckless conduct.

If shone at aircraft, it is seen as a malicious and criminal act which can endanger the lives of those on board.

The latest data shows that Glasgow Airport was second in the UK with 83 laser-related incidents in 2016, with Edinburgh Airport ninth at 44 incidents, according to Civil Aviation Authority statistics.

It received reports of 1,258 laser incidents, with only Heathrow ahead of Glasgow as the most frequent location for reports of the devices being used recklessly.

In September last year, a man appeared in court after admitting to repeatedly shining a laser at a police car from a Knightswood flat, distracting a sergeant who was driving.

The previous year, the pilot of a FlyBe flight bound for Glasgow Airport-bound was left dazzled after a man shone a laser pen into his eyes as he prepared to land.

In another case, a laser pen was shone at the Police Scotland helicopter flown by pilot Captain David Traill, forcing him to take evasive action. The incident happened just 24 hours before Captain Traill died when his helicopter crashed into the Clutha pub in Glasgow.

Business minister Margot James said that Westminster had listened to concerns from pilots, health professionals and safety experts in order to crack down on the sale of the devices.

She said: "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."

The move follows a response to a Call for Evidence launched last year following the increase in the number of incidents.

The Government has said the new measures will include increased check at the border and clearer labels explaining the risk.

It will also give additional support to local authority ports and borders teams to stop the high-powered devices entering the UK and work with online retailers such as ebay to better police online sales.

The Scottish Government said it strongly supported measures to publicise the dangers of the lasers, and to ensure those who direct lasers at aircraft are arrested and prosecuted.

A spokesman said: "While the law in this area is reserved to the UK Government, the Scottish Government has long supported the work being carried out to see if the law needs to be strengthened by, for example, increasing the penalties available."

More than 150 incidents of eye injuries involving laser pointers have been reported since 2013, with the vast majority of these involving children.

Laser beam attacks are have also been raised as an issue by the rail network, with the British Transport Police showing that between April 2011 and November 2017, a total of 578 laser incidents were recorded -- around 96 incidents per year.