The British Bases yesterday maintained that none of their aircraft had caused buildings to shake in Paphos on Wednesday.

According to the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, "aircraft taking part in a British military exercise went supersonic, upsetting local residents, who feared for their safety."

The report claimed the phenomenon was felt at 11.15am, mainly in Yeroskipou, Peyia and Kato Paphos, adding that an RAF spokeswoman confirmed that a military exercise took place 30 nautical miles south of the Akrotiri Base.

Bases spokesman Captain Nick Ulvert told the Mail on Wednesday that he had heard local press reports claiming that the Red Arrows were responsible.

"These rumours are unfounded, as according to our records, the Red Arrows were not in the air at that time," he said.

He confirmed that various operational training flights took place throughout the day but stated that, "in order for buildings to start shaking, aircraft would need to be extremely close to Paphos. The RAF operates under strict aviation guidelines, which are always adhered to. I cannot imagine a scenario in which our aircraft are responsible for this."

Yesterday Captain Ulvert added: "We don't have anything to hide and I can guarantee you that our operational training sorties on Wednesday were conducted nowhere near Paphos."

He also said that their traces "suggest no supersonic movement".

One Paphos resident spoke about what he felt at the time. "The doors and windows of my home were shaking like mad and I heard a really loud noise," he said.

Another described similar circumstances, saying: "I thought it was an earthquake but the ground wasn't shaking."

A small earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter Scale was recorded at 5.03am on Wednesday, 100km from Cape Arnaoutis and 10km below sea level.

Kyriacos Solomi of the Geological Survey Department, however, was adamant that the effects felt in Paphos around six hours later were not caused by an aftershock or another quake.

"Eyewitness observations could correspond to an earthquake of a 3.5 to 4.0 magnitude. However, we did not record any incidents," said Solomi. "Even if all our instruments suddenly went offline, earthquake detecting networks in Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey would have picked something up. Nobody has reported any activity at that particular time, meaning it was definitely not an earthquake."

Director of Civil Aviation Leonidas Leonidou said he was informed that, "a big bang was spreading in a ten-kilometre radius from Paphos airport to Kissonegra."
He added that the British had done everything by the book and informed Leonidou that they would have aircraft involved in exercises.

"There was an event of some kind and it is a high possibility that it was caused by a sonic boom. However, we cannot say this with 100 per cent certainty."

Commenting, the Green Party issued a statement saying: "We believe the time has come for the government to ask the British authorities to stop conducting military exercises in and around Cyprus. The use of the island in this manner undermines the national sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and casts doubt over our national independence."