A VOLUNTEER lifeboat crew has been targeted in a laser pen attack while out in the Cromarty Firth.
The incident happened while members of Invergordon RNLI were taking part in a training exercise on Monday night.
The attack involved a green high-powered laser pen which was possibly used in a moving vehicle travelling between Cromarty and Jemimaville.
The incident has prompted concern among crew members
Michael Macdonald, the crew’s media officer, said: "I don’t understand why anyone would want to buy a high-powered laser pen," he said.
"To shine it at someone in a helicopter, a car or a boat is highly irresponsible. It can cause serious issues if it comes into contact with someone’s eyes."
Fortunately none of the seven-strong crew taking part in the exercise between 7pm and 8.30pm was affected by the attack.
Mr Macdonald said it was the first time the lifeboat had been targeted although he was aware of previous incidents including beams being shone at aircraft including a coastguard helicopter while it was taking part in a search operation in the Moray Firth near Inverness.
Last year the Port of Cromarty Firth also complained to police after laser pens were shone into the waters of the firth.
One worker had to receive medical treatment when a pen was shone directly into his eyes.
In October Kate Forbes, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, raised the sale and possession of laser pens with the UK and Scottish governments following an incident on the Black Isle.
A secondary school pupil had a laser pen shone in her eyes by a classmate on the bus to Fortrose Academy.
The pupil’s father subsequently called for better education on the issue.