THE truth is out there. Sightings of mysterious orange lights in the skies over the festive period have sparked a flurry of calls to the Daily Echo.

Retired plumber Peter Pearson, 66, said he and his family spotted a glowing orange sphere over Barton-on-Sea at around 6.55am on Christmas morning.

The object shot over the skies near his home in Keysworth Avenue heading towards Bournemouth.

Mr Pearson said: “We thought it was a plane crashing or a meteorite. It was a fast orange ball and it went from east to west. My son started filming it on his mobile. Then it disappeared.

“We waited for the noise of the aircraft but there was nothing. Obviously we don’t believe in UFOs but it was not man-made.”

Ivor Freemantle, 69, of Brixey Road, Parkstone, said he spotted similar orange/white lights near his house just minutes into New Year’s Day.

He said: “I saw three lights high up in the sky evenly spaced in a line. I used to work at Bournemouth Airport and am used to seeing aeroplanes and I never saw any lights like that.”

Father-of-three Michael Anderson saw four orange lights moving across the sky at around 8pm on Christmas Eve.

He said: “They were 20m apart and disappeared one by one into the clouds. It lasted for about 10 minutes.”

One explanation is that the lights were Chinese lanterns released to celebrate the festive period.

However, Steve Hawker, secretary of Dorset Earth Mysteries Group, said: “It would be implausible for them (aliens) not to exist.”

Steve Williams, watch officer at Portland Coastguard, said they had not received any reports about lights in Bournemouth, but added: “We have had a lot of calls about Chinese lanterns lately. It’s becoming a bit of a problem for us.

“Sometimes people see aircraft flashing lights, marker buoys offshore or meteorites. Recently Venus has been very bright in the evening sky and can look as if it’s moving.”

Sally Windsor, spokesperson for Bournemouth Airport, said there had been no unusual flying activity from the airport over the festive period and no aircraft incidents.