STRANGE lights in the sky caused a stir this week prompting theories that aliens may have been passing through the borough.

Neighbours in Greenway Gardens, Greenford, came out into the street to gaze at about 30 bright white lights moving in small groups across the night.

RAF Northolt confirmed there were no airborne operations taking place at the time, at about 11pm on Sunday, and suggested flying Chinese lanterns my be the cause.

The lanterns are made of paper and wire and have candles inside so that they can float like miniature hot air balloons for several miles. But residents said the lights were too bright and white to be be mistaken for them.

Greenway Gardens resident Mike Roberts said: "They looked like the lights from helicopters but they were silent. There were about 30 of them, they must've covered about 200 yards of sky, they looked quite mysterious. There were quite a few of us out looking at them, some wondered if it was aliens. "They were moving quite quickly and we watched them until they went out of view. A lot of people must have seen them."

Neighbour Amit Sharma, I was with a couple of my sisters coming home from Ruislip in the car and we saw bright lights in the sky. There was a group of them which sort of went up and then disappeared and then they were followed by individual lights.

"I've no idea what they might be, they were really strange. I can't say they were extraterrestrial, it was just odd there were that many lights. But other people saw them as well which proves I'm not crazy."

Squadron Leader Richard Willis, spokesman for RAF Northolt, said: "Our normal operational hours are 8am to 8pm seven days a week and our last movement was about 6pm. The only explanation I can think of would be Chinese lanterns. They can be a danger to aircraft and we often find the burnt out husks of the lanterns on our airfield."

The coastguard have also complained about the lanterns in the past, saying they get mistaken for distress flares. And farmers have criticised them, pointing out they injure livestock who can eat them once they have crashed to the ground.

Did you see the lights? Do you know what they are? Email reporter Michael Russell at or call him on 020 85721816.