A 30-year-old Trowbridge faces a court appearance after he was caught shining a laser at the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

He was reported for the new offence of endangering an aircraft after he aimed a laser pointer at the helicopter on Friday at 5.50pm.

Sector sergeant for Trowbridge Jim Suter said: “It’s a real problem; when such a laser strikes an aircraft’s screen the light refracts and bounces around the cabin, causing the crew to become dazzled and distracted, which is not good.

“They have got an on-board camera and equipment for mapping, which they can use to give a location, so they can identify where it comes from, right down to the house number.

“They called in the ground units to the address who interviewed him. He was invited to the police station for an interview, and he will receive a summons through the court.

“It’s a serious criminal offence, and if it goes to court he could end up in prison.”

In 2012 two 21-year-olds from Chippenham were ordered to each pay £287 compensation after they admitted shining a laser pen at the Air Ambulance in Calne, preventing it from landing as it took a dying man to hospital.

New legislation was introduced in 2010 to make shining lasers at aircraft a specific criminal offence in a bid to clamp down on the behaviour, and several people have since been imprisoned for doing so.

The Air Ambulance was travelling above Trowbridge to Keevil as part of a training exercise.