Aviation officials have warned of a surge in the number of laser attacks on planes after nearly 2,000 such incidents were reported in the UK last year.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed that a total of 1,909 incidents in which lasers were deliberately aimed towards aircraft occurred in 2011, compared with 20 in 2005.

"It's a serious problem and has been getting worse over the last three years largely due to the availability of lasers on the internet," a spokesman said.

Heathrow was the worst affected, with 153 incidents.