A dramatic display of bright lights in the West Midlands which prompted local fears of a UFO invasion has been revealed as a bit of child's play.

The mystery objects were identified as a cluster of cheap flying lanterns.

They had been released into the night sky last night during a children's carol service at a nearby primary school in Halesowen.

Stunned residents were left mystified after seeing the silent night interrupted by a "long string of lights" travelling across the sky.

The bemused locals contacted local UFO enthusiasts - who were convinced the sightings among the stars in the bright sky were genuine.

Resident Steven Randall, of Hunnington, Halesowen, was alerted by a neighbour at around 7.45pm.

He told Sky News Online he saw "very, very bright lights".

Mr Randall said locals were used to flights travelling to the nearby Birmingham airport.

But he said the lights were moving "in the opposite direction to the way the planes come ... and more quickly".

Having ruled out birds and planes, Mr Randall contacted Midlands-based UFO enthusiasts - who were far from surprised by the other-worldly sight.

"They said these things are seen on a regular basis and usually follow the paths of motorways," he said.

But a deeper probe into the origin of objects identified them as dozens of 'magical' Night Glow Flying Lanterns.

They had been let off by children celebrating carols by torchlight at nearby Lutley Primary School in Brookwillow Road.

As planned, between 50 and 70 glowing lanterns shone brightly in the sky for approximately 20 minutes, until their fuel ran out and flames extinguished.

Unfortunately for the extraterrestrial believers, these flying objects then gently floated back to where they were came from - planet earth.