08:50 - 02 August 2006

Aberdeen ("the Granite City"): why would extraterrestrials travel millions of light years to visit one of Britain's most northerly, and therefore coldest, cities?

The truth, so they say, is out there and it now appears that the 'there' in question is Aberdeen.

Forget Roswell , New Mexico and even Bonnybridge near Falkirk, it seems the Granite City is the new hotspot of UFO activity.

These pictures, taken in Garthdee, show what locals say are flying saucers.

The orange lights in the sky, said to resemble balloons more than saucers, were captured by John Sutherland, 64, of Gaitside Drive, last month.

Yesterday his wife, Audrey, 61, who also witnessed the strange sight, said that locals were in no doubt that the objects were not of this Earth.

"We were just out on the back patio, having a glass of wine and chatting with the neighbours when we saw them," she said.

"I would love to know what they were because I have never seen anything like that before. It just happened out of the blue - I'm not a UFO spotter but I'm interested now. I keep going outside to have a look."

She said she saw six orange lights in the sky which hovered momentarily before "disintegrating".

And she is not the only one. A Canadian-based website which records UFO sightings has reports from eight people in the Aberdeen area.

But last night local councillor Scott Cassie played down claims that Garthdee was a UFO hotspot. "It's certainly never been brought to my attention," he said.

In January, the Press and Journal received a number of calls from concerned residents after mysterious lights were spotted in the night sky.

People living in the Garioch area had reported seeing "a laser waggling backwards and forwards." But fears of an alien invasion soon passed after it emerged the lights had come from an oil company party at Fyvie Castle.