THOUSANDS of airline passengers' lives are being put in danger after a huge rise in the number of incidents in which laser pens are used to dazzle pilots - which greatly increases the risk of a crash.

Incidents of beams directed into cockpits as planes come in to land at Glasgow Airport have soared to record levels.

Almost 300 incidents, involving more than 50,000 passengers, were reported at the airport in the past five years.

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Firing a strong light at pilots can temporarily blind them and can affect them for several minutes afterwards, potentially causing them to lose control of the aircraft.

In 2013, there were 88 incidents recorded, according to statistics. Four years ago there were just 14 reports at Glasgow Airport.

Many of the attacks are thought to have come from high flats in Knightswood and Drumchapel.

Police today warned that laser-pen menaces who put lives at risk will be caught and face being locked up.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Shining laser pens at any vehicle is incredibly dangerous.

"Our message is clear: use them inappropriately and you will be arrested."