Three aircraft flying over Hamilton were targeted by a green laser light last night.

Hamilton police tonight warned that the people endangering aircraft were playing for very high stakes, not just in terms of lengthy prison sentences if caught but also in terms of lives potentially lost.

Senior Sergeant Kent Holdsworth said police were contacted three times last night about aircraft being targeted by a green laser light between 8-10pm.

"The first report came from a Cessna aircraft carrying two people about 8.05pm and the pilot described a green light catching up to his aircraft that was flying at 5000ft," Mr Holdsworth said.

"The next report was at about 9pm and again it was a green light pointed at an aircraft, seven miles north-west of the city. A circus operating opposite the Base at Te Rapa was asked to turn off its outside lights to ensure it wasn't them and they were eliminated from our enquiries."

The third aircraft painted by the offenders was an Air New Zealand flight flying from Auckland to Hamilton, and carrying 15 passengers.

"The pilot was able to give a location towards the west of the city and officers converged on the area to try and locate those responsible but were unsuccessful," Mr Holdsworth said.

If caught, those responsible would likely face a charge of endangering transport which carried a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment," he said.

"But the really crucial thing here is that these people may think they're having fun, but they are putting the lives of others at genuinely serious risk."

Anyone with information on the identities of the people involved should contact Mr Holdsworth at the Hamilton Central Police Station on 07 858 6200, or, alternatively, information could be left on the Crimestoppers crimeline 0800 555111.

- NZPA