Mysterious lights spotted hovering in the night sky caused quite a stir in Tunbridge Wells this week.

Between 20 to 40 orange spheres baffled residents throughout the town as they witnessed the strange phenomenon.

©Kent and Sussex Courier

The glowing orbs appeared at around 10pm on Saturday rising slowly into the clouds before eventually vanishing.

Tony Barber, of Farnham Lane, in Langton Green saw the spectacle after his neighbour alerted him. He said: "They were rising into the sky for about 20 minutes then they disappeared. We went outside and watched and tried to guess what they were. We couldn't really come up with anything except they were huge hot air balloons."

Diners at the Hand and Sceptre on London Road also observed the unusual sight as they took a break from their meals to gaze into the sky.

Assistant manager at the pub William Saffery said: "Two or three tables came outside to have a look. It was weird, it was like clusters of lights rising into the sky. I've never seen anything like it."

Michael King from Crowborough was in the restaurant and said the lights, which were seen as far away as Eastbourne, could not have been balloons because the area was on the flight path to Gatwick and therefore restricted air space.

The 51-year-old said: "They started at tree height but went up and disappeared into the clouds at about 30,000ft. I rang air traffic control and they told me they had heard nothing and to report it to the police.

"As someone who has flown light aircraft I would not be able to explain what it was. Hot air balloons wouldn't follow the same path or climb at that height. If there ever was a UFO sighting, this has got to be it."

Pam Robinson from Langton Green was also puzzled by the bright lights after her partner spotted them while driving from Penshurst.

She said: "We did get a funny feeling and when I first tried to take a picture the camera kept saying error."

But there could be a more rational explanation for the lights than balloons blown off course or aliens visiting Earth. Spokesman for National Air Traffic Services Richard Wright said: "Nothing was notified to air traffic control. It might have been a light show, there was a fair amount of moisture building up in the atmosphere which meant that water would pick up the light beams."

A wedding reception was also held at Salomons on Broomhill Road at the weekend and the party celebrated with fireworks and floating lanterns, said a spokeswoman.

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