Light thrown on UFO sightings

UFO researchers today identified the mysterious orange lights spotted floating in the sky over a village.

Shocked residents last week told how they watched in awe as the eerie glowing orbs appeared over Easington Lane.

As reported in the Echo, more than a dozen witnesses were left stunned after they saw up to nine "fireballs" on Saturday.

Mum Sharon Johnston captured the orange lights on her mobile phone camera.

The 33-year-old, from Hetton, said they appeared to be travelling in formation and were in the air for about 10 minutes before suddenly vanishing from sight.

The British UFO Research Association says it was likely the lights were Chinese sky lanterns, which are often released into the air at public events and celebrations.

Often used as an alternative to fireworks displays, the lanterns, which are made of paper and bamboo, are known to rise as high as 1,500 metres and can travel miles. They are regularly seen at weekends and mistaken for UFOs.

After viewing the footage, a spokesman for the association said: "I see nothing at all here to suggest anything other than lanterns. The colour, appearance and behaviour of the lights unfortunately fit an all too familiar – and, from our perspective, annoying – pattern."

There have been similar sightings in Bristol, Lincolnshire and Wrexham.

The spokesman added: "It is not the fault of such witnesses that so much time ultimately becomes wasted on these reports as the general public are by and large, and perhaps understandably, unfamiliar with the behavioural traits of these things."