Published: 12:34 PM 11/12/2013
Cumbria police have investigated an alleged UFO sighting over Penrith late last month, a spokesman confirmed today.
As a call-handler at the force’s HQ in Penrith listened intently, a man on the end of the phone explained that he wanted to report something strange he’d seen in the night sky north west of Penrith.
What he’d initially dismissed as a shooting star turned out to be something entirely different, he said.
The man then described seeing an oval object, travelling in a straight line northwards, at around the height of a small aircraft.
Bright white at the front, it had an orange mid-section, with its rear leaving what looked like a trail of sparks.
Cumbria police confirmed today that officers spent an hour investigating the sighting on the night of September 22, speaking to experts at RAF Culdrose in Cornwall, and scientists at Edinburgh’s Seismic Research Centre.
Neither could throw any light on the sighting.
The incident has come at the end of a three-month period which has seen at least a dozen mysterious UFO sightings in the skies over Cumbria, says one enthusiast.
After failing to find any explanation for the latest report – described by police as a yellow light-ball – officers told the caller it must have been a natural phenomenon. But the caller was clearly not convinced, and posted his account of the encounter on an international UFO website.
He described how he first spotted it at 9.45pm as he was about to lock his front door and go upstairs to bed.
The man said: “When I looked out of the hall window, I noticed what a calm, clear night it was and how the stars seemed to be really bright – brighter than I have ever seen them before.
“Then I noticed a bright light heading towards my house. At first, I thought it was a shooting star. Then as it got closer I could make out details that dismissed it as a shooting star. It flew at the height of a small aircraft and was bright, really bright white at the front with orange in the middle.
“What really grabbed me were the sparks coming from the back, nothing like a meteor. It was way too slow for that and the speed was constant and the angle the same. It was not heading towards the ground as a comet would, but steady in its path.”
The man asked police to check for seismic readings over Scotland in case the object later hit the ground. He said police initially suggested it may have been part of a military exercise.
Cumbria Police confirmed the sighting, their investigations of it, and the conclusion of officers that it had been a natural phenomenon, but the force declined to comment further.
Sharon Larkin, of North West Cumbria UFO Investigations, said: “There has been a rise in sightings in Cumbria in the last three months: about a dozen of them – some over the Solway, some over Cockermouth, and others above the Lake District.
“They’ve included bright white lights moving slowly across the sky. We’ve investigated and they’re all unidentified at present.”