Taxi driver spots orange shapes in sky over Hungerford and man sees UFO the size of four football pitches above Thatcham

©Newbury News

More reports of UFO sightings in the summer skies above West Berkshire have left people baffled.

A Swindon taxi driver recently added to the growing list of supernatural occurrences spotted by locals in the district.

Having just dropped off a fare in Hungerford, Neil Whitby spotted four bright orange shapes in the sky.

Drifting silently across the sky at what he believed was a fairly low altitude, the lights began to flicker before suddenly disappearing.

A few weeks earlier, a man from Newbury rang the Newbury Weekly News claiming to have spotted circles in the sky the size of four football pitches hovering above Henwick Fields in Thatcham for five minutes. He said his son had also seen the lights.

The inexplicable phenomena are the latest in a whole string of local UFO sightings dating as far back as 1909, when an organist from St Michael's Church in Lambourn spotted a shape coming from the East that he said intermittently let off loud explosions.

UFO expert Steve Harris of the Newbury Amateur Astronomical Society said: "I have actually seen spacecraft returning to earth before. When you see things that are glowing as they go through the atmosphere it is generally spacecraft or space junk."

Little green men, cigar-shaped metal objects traveling at supersonic speeds, or balls of fire rising from the earth. West Berkshire has had its fair share of UFO sightings.

Three years ago locals in Hungerford were left baffled by a giant fireball attached to a solid cigar-shaped structure (pictured above), which some saw plummet to earth before rising into the night sky again.

People said pets were behaving strangely twenty minutes before the fireball appeared and police even dispatched helicopters to look for debris while firefighters scoured the area in search of a point of impact.

UFO experts from America, who were holidaying in Marlborough at the time, became so excited by the sighting that they set up camp near Hungerford to await the fireball's return.

The mystery was never explained and a man even saw a similar ball of flame above Thatcham a year later.

In September 2006, a triangular-shaped formation of glowing lights was seen drifting across the sky above Greenham Common (see additional pictures).

Some witnesses said the lights formed a V shaped formation, hovering over the common for three minutes before disappearing into the night sky at lightning speed.

The MOD and Met office were left scratching their heads, unable to explain the Greenham sightings or the power cuts and bright flashes that accompanied them.

At the time, UFO expert Steve Harris dismissed satellites, meteors and space junk as possible explanations,

It seemed to come straight through the window and into my was very painful as these would only light up the sky for a couple of seconds. He said: "We would have to put it down as an unidentified flying object."

West Berkshire's catalogue of UFO sightings coincides with an age when rumours of alien autopsies abounded.

In the summer of 1968, a Newbury man was drawing his curtains when a huge circular object flashed across the horizon at break-neck speed. On the same evening, two policemen in Kent spotted an object of a similar description also travelling abnormally fast.

Fifteen years earlier the same man spotted a large cigar-shaped object moving through the sky while he was walking his dog in Love Lane.

In 1971, after two sightings, the man was so impressed that he founded the Newbury-based South-West Aerial Phenomena Society (SWAPS), members of which made it their mission to record and investigate UFO sightings in West Berkshire.

One of the club's first investigations into the bizarre night time phenomena was to set up a "skywatch" to chart the movement of orange lights seen by people in May 1972.

SWAPS sent investigators to the home of Wickham actress Coral Atkins, who had told the Newbury Weekly News: "I saw a ball of orangey white light coming towards me. It seemed to come straight through the window and into my head.

"It was very painful but for a few seconds it seemed as if I was standing back from the world and I could see everything as it should be."

The next recorded sightings occurred in February 1972 when two UFOs were spotted above Kintbury and Brightwalton on the same night.

Witnesses who chased the mysterious oval-shaped objects on scooters until they vanished into the night sky said the UFOs had beams of light radiating from them and red diodes flashing sporadically.

One of the few sightings that has actually been explained occurred on Christmas Day in 1980 when a UFO scare had dozens of people all over the district claiming they had seen alien activity.

In fact, it later became clear that the bright lights in the sky were simply a Russian rocket breaking up as it re-entered the atmosphere.

Mr Harris said that, while unidentified flying objects are common, he did not believe they were part of an extra-terrestrial mission to take over the earth.

He said: ""Interstella travel - just traveling from one star system to another - is a million times more difficult than traveling to the moon.

"When you consider that the nearest star is four and a half light years away, it seems a long way to come just to hover over Greenham Common and not make contact with us.

"Most if not all sightings are explainable, whether they are military helicopters or telecommunications satellites."