By combining the time‐of‐flight or LIDAR principle with a Thomson backscatter diagnostic, spatial profiles of the electron temperature and density are measured in a magnetically confined fusion plasma. This technique was realized for the first time on the JET tokamak. A ruby laser (3‐J pulse energy, 300‐ps pulse duration, 0.5‐Hz repetition rate) together with a 700‐MHz bandwidth detection and registration system yields a spatial resolution of about 12 cm. A spectrometer with six channels in the wavelength range 400–800 nm gives a dynamic range of the temperature measurements of 0.3–20 keV. The stray light problem in the backscatter geometry is overcome by spectral discrimination and gating of the photomultipliers. A ruby filter in the spectral channel containing the laser wavelength allows calibration of the vignetting along the line of sight by means of Raman scattering, enabling the measurement of density profiles. The low level of background signal due to the short integration time for a single spatial point yields low statistical errors (ΔTe /Te ≊6%, Δne /ne ≊4% at Te =6 keV, ne =3×1019 m−3 ). Goodness‐of‐fit tests indicate that the systematic errors are within the same limits. The system is described and examples of measurements are given.