Out of this world - family report three UFO sightings

It's the mantra of UFO fanatics across the planet ... we are not alone.

But it has added meaning for one St Helens family after three of them experienced close encounters with unexplained objects hovering over the borough's skies.

The family's brush with the extraterrestrial started when nightshift worker Michael Simpson, of Dentons Green, was returning home along the East Lancs and was stopped in his tracks by a strange floating object.

When he told what he'd seen instead of a good-natured ribbing, he was stunned to discover his mum and uncle had both spotted the same mysterious 'orange light' patrolling the skies over St Helens over the previous few weeks.

Michael, 31, said: "I had said, listen Mum, this is going to sound strange but on my way home today I saw something in the sky and I don't know what it was.

"I expected her to look confused but she looked stunned and yet intrigued but instead she said 'was it an orange fireball?'. I was completely taken aback."

Julie Bradbury admitted she'd spotted a similar object weeks earlier but had dismissed it and only confessed to her encounter when Michael's uncle Philip Cahalin reported a similar sighting.

The trio are now at a loss to explain their sightings - which all happened in January.

Michael's close encounter took place as was cycling home at around 4.30am travelling on the Liverpool-bound carriageway on January 21 near to the Waterside pub.

He explains: "It was around the height that the police helicopter can normally be seen, so this was my first thought as to what it could be. There was, however, absolutely no sound emitting from the object.

"I had stopped travelling at this point and the object was moving very slowly and steadily towards me. It could not have been travelling any faster than 40-60 knots.

"Initially, I thought I could see a shaft of orange or red light shining down beneath the object, but as it crept ever closer it became apparent I was looking at flames. Please, let me be clear; I do not think I saw flames. I know I did."

Michael began filming the incredible sight with the video function on his mobile phone, only to discover he had forgotten to activate the 'night mode' switch.

He went on: "For complete want of a better comparison, the object was 'bowler-hat-shaped' with flames protruding from 'inside' at the centre, and I could clearly make out their reflections on the metallic underbelly of the craft. Also visible, were tiny, red lights on the sides and top of the craft."

Michael's incredible story is not the first UFO sighting in St Helens in recent times. Many sceptics dismiss UFO sighting as simply the European Space Station - something Michael says is not possible because of how low his unexplained object managed to fly.

"I have spoken to a lot of people about and the people that know me and know how rationally-minded I am are intrigued," he added. "The people

that don't know me have been dismissive."