Aliens in town? No, I'm to blame

A SPALDING man has owned up to setting off the strange lights in the night sky which prompted speculation that aliens had visited the town.

Residents in Pennygate were transfixed by up to ten orange lights which were behaving strangely on November 2.

But Darren Maltby has now admitted he may be responsible as he set off fire lanterns during a fireworks display.

Darren (39) and his wife Helen (37) organised the display and small family party to celebrate their son Francis's first birthday on November 2.

The Thai fire sky lanterns are run by a solid fuel cell and just require hot air to launch.

Once ignited they float into the air and hang for several minutes before going out.

Darren said: "I apologise for shattering people's dreams of life on another planet but we were only having fun at my son's first birthday party.

"When we let them off one of my sisters said: 'You'll be in the Free Press next week'.

"It is quite amazing the response it has caused."

Darren is confident that the lights were his lanterns as he began the fireworks display at 7.30pm at his home in Claudette Way, which is a stone's throw from Pennygate where the lights were seen.

He found the unusual lanterns on the Fireworks Arcade website.

These lanterns have prompted a similar response in other parts of the country, including Lancashire and Sunderland, where pranksters owned up after the MOD said it would investigate any reports of UFOs.

South Holland district councillor Paul Przyszlak, who was driving in the area and saw the lanterns, was not fooled.

He said: "They were quite fascinating but I am sure they came out of a firework display."

Pauline Gibson, who lives in First Avenue, recalls similar fireworks making an impression on her at a display in Tallington in the 1980s.

She said: "It seemed funny there were fireworks that night too.

"The lights were around for quite a while, just floating across, and came right over the top of us and as I was looking they just faded."