A search and rescue pilot who had a laser pen pointed at his helicopter during an emergency flight has called for tighter legal controls on ownership.

Cpt John MacIntyre, chief pilot of the Highlands' search and rescue helicopter, was searching for someone in the River Ness in October 2015 when his aircraft was targeted.

He said the 'very unpleasant' experience could have had catastrophic consequences.

He told BBC Scotland: "It's really, very unpleasant. It's a huge distraction for us as air-crew.

"We're there looking for somebody in the water, and we can't because we're trying to shield our eyes.

"That's one of the outcomes. The worst outcome of course is that it can damage our eyes and mean that we're unable to fly the aircraft.

"In a congested area like that, for us to come down in the aircraft would just be catastrophic."

Police in Ross-shire issued a warning following the incident with Cpt McIntyre's Bristow Search and Rescue helicopter, which happened over the Cromarty Firth.

His comments came after a pilot was hit by a beam in the eye while taking-off from Heathrow Airport on Sunday.

The Virgin Atlantic flight to New York returned to Heathrow as a 'precautionary measure' following the incident and the co-pilot was taken to hospital.

The British Airline Pilots Association has called for tighter legal controls on the sale and possession of laser pens.