Airport bound planes and birds are commonly seen in the skies above Harlow, but only 11 days ago there was a report of a UFO spotted above the town.

The sighting appeared on a Canadian website, which is run by independent UFO investigator Brian Vike.

The person who posted the sighting had been sitting outdoors at 12.30am with friends when they saw a mysterious grey object move across the night sky.

"It looked greyish in colour and was not moving very quickly," they said. "It was probably a few hundred feet high, H shaped, completely silent and no lights to be seen."

They go on to say that the object was seen above the Princess Alexandra Hospital for about five seconds before it moved behind trees towards the east.

"I am gob smacked at what I saw, in my 50 years I have never seen anything like it, mind boggling."

There have been several sightings of so-called UFOs in the West Essex area, particularly in Loughton.

The earliest sighting of a UFO in the UK, as recorded on the UFO Info website, was in the '60s in Harlow. The author's name is not given, but the details describe how a nine-year-old boy was leaving his friend's house one evening when he saw "a ball of yellow, pearly orange".

"Holding my fist up now, it was easily bigger than my fist by about 10 per cent. This thing was close and I feel sure it knew I was there. It had two round dark patches, one each to the left and right lower half," he said.

"The funny thing is I don't remember much at all of the after events, except running home very fast after the ball 'switched off'."

The Ministry of Defence has released a report claiming that most sightings are "attributable to physical, electrical and magnetic phenomena in the atmosphere", but enthusiasts and experts are not convinced.

"Many people will try and convince you that UFOs are secret military black projects, but the problem with that conclusion is we've been told that since the 1950s," one expert commented.

"If it were true, why haven't we seen these 50-year-old UFO shaped black projects in regular use by now?"