UFO alert over girl's Christmas letter to Santa Claus

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A YOUNG girl's letter to Santa caused a commotion when local residents mistook it for a UFO.

People in the Borders town of Peebles contacted a newspaper and the local radio station after seeing a group of bright lights in the night sky. But, instead of aliens trying to land, the lights were flying lanterns carrying letters to Santa which had been set off by local man Iain Weir.

The father-of-three was trying to give his five-year-old daughter Ellie a science lesson after she quizzed him about hot air balloons.

It wasn't until he heard his neighbours talking about the sightings that he realised the uproar he had caused.

He said: "There was a very colourful hot air balloon flying over Peebles and my daughter asked me how they worked. I thought of trying to build one to demonstrate it but had visions of a plastic bag going up in flames."

Instead, he bought the lanterns online and prepared for his scientific experiment after reading a story about another family who had used them to contact Father Christmas.

It wasn't until his mother-in-law mentioned that she had heard about a UFO sighting on local radio that Mr Weir realised the commotion they had caused.

He said: "It was reported that people had seen three bright lights over Peebles and they thought they were UFOs.

"I just didn't think when we sent the balloons up – all I was worried about was making sure they weren't blown on to anybody's roof."

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