Random fireballs lighting up the skies of Stamford Hill were one of 97 unexplained mysteries that occurred in the UK last year.

The sightings were reported to the Ministry of Defence and have been published following requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

There was a massive bang in Stamford Hill at 9pm on September 9 last year before two large fireballs were seen moving east to west across the sky.

Denis Plunkett, 76, a founder of the British Flying Saucer Bureau and a former lecturer for the London UFO studies group, said: "I don't think I have ever heard of that sort of description.

"Fireballs don't travel horizontally because of the force of gravity pulling them down. They disintegrate and just burn out."

He said the bang could have been caused by one fireball splitting into two.

The Stamford Hill sighting happened at the same time that another fast-moving fireball was seen in Manchester.

Nick Pope, who used to run the government's UFO project at the MoD and is one of the world's leading UFO experts, believes there is an astronomical explanation to the two sightings, such as a meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up.

"After investigation, most UFO sightings turn out to be misidentifications of ordinary objects or phenomena, although a small percentage can't be so easily explained," he said.

It is not the first time Hackney has been touched by the paranormal.

A black, odd-shaped object was seen moving faster than a plane in Finsbury Park on February 26, 2000.

Two weeks later, on March 12, again in Stamford Hill, a bright white star was seen moving steadily along before vanishing into the night skies.

The Gazette reported how a couple awoke on February 15, 2001, to see a strange white light above the rooftops close to their home in Thistlewaite Road, Lower Clapton.

Paul Scott, vice-chairman of the British Earth and Aerial Mysteries Society, told the Gazette during the summer of 1999 how the group had logged reports of sightings of unusually-shaped aircraft and strange lights in the night skies above Hackney.

A MoD spokesman said it only examined witness reports if UK airspace was under threat from hostile or unauthorised military activity.