LASER-wielding yobs who targeted a passenger plane are being sought by police in Oxfordshire.

Officers are investigating whether a green laser shone at a commercial flight as it flew over the city on Thursday night could be linked to reports of a green laser being beamed at motorists travelling on the A40 in the Witney area at about the same time.

Air traffic control staff told police that the aircraft was targeted with a laser at 8pm, causing a hazard to the navigation of the plane.

A police spokesman said full details of the crime, including the type of aircraft involved, the number of passengers on board and the plane’s destination, could not be released until statements had been taken from the airline and crew involved.

Police also received several other calls reporting that a group in a silver people carrier was shining a green laser at vehicles on the A40 in the Witney area at about the same time.

Dc Ian Gibbard, of Banbury CID, said: “Shining a laser at an aircraft is a criminal offence and extremely dangerous, and anyone doing this will be dealt with severely. It is not just a childish prank and it can have very serious consequences.

“Anyone who witnesses a laser being shone at an aircraft or at vehicles should contact police immediately by dialling 999.”

Anyone with information should call Dc Gibbard on 08458 505 505 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Changes in the law last year now mean that anyone caught shining a laser at an aircraft can be fined up to £2,500. The new charge of ‘shining a light at an aircraft in flight to dazzle the pilot’ was introduced to make it easier for cases to be prosecuted.

In August 2009, Jamir Ali, 19, admitted shining a laser at a police helicopter from his house in Leon Close, Oxford.

Ali was ordered by Oxford magistrates to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and pay £150 costs.