CHINESE lanterns could once again explain why a family spotted "six orange balls of light" flying near Colchester after some were seen being set off nearby.

Angela Fletcher and son Ben Parsons, 12, saw the unidentified flying objects (UFOs) moving silently in formation across the sky above Chappel on Saturday, June 28.

A man visiting who did not wish to be named said he and his wife saw six Chinese lanterns being set off in a field when he visited Earls Colne that evening, and added he believed they posed a safety hazard.

"On that Saturday evening there were six, I believe, of these Chinese lanterns set off," he said. "The width across was about two to three feet.

"The prevailing wind was north by north east so it would have taken them across the Chappel area.

"I said to my wife somebody must be wondering what they hell they are'," he added.

Since the sighting, an accountant from Bures has come forward to say he had seen 12 bright orange lights one evening last September.

Amateur astronomer Dale Rout said: "Last September I saw 12 orange lights travelling south to north in formation and I can't explain it to this day.

"They disappeared about 20 degrees over the horizon, so they must have been very high up.

"It took the objects about 30 seconds to go from one horizon to the other."