DESPITE the glut of possible panther sightings in and around Belper, the News investigation also dug up one report of an ‘alien encounter’.
In 2007 police were called to investigate what one witness described as a “triangular shaped UFO” with orange lights.
The caller said the object then “shot off backwards without making a sound.”
But expert Heather Dixon of the Tyneside-based British UFO Research Association, believes the Belper sighting can be explained.
“The biggest culprit are candle lit sky lanterns,” she said. “They account for about 60 per cent of all sightings. That could be the case here. They can often look very strange and can move quickly and silently in high wind speeds.”
In January, 2010, other reports of UFO sightings over Belper were explained as sky lanterns. The Chrimes family of Wheeldon Avenue released them while celebrating a New Year party.