A PROBE into a mystery low-flying aircraft which caused panic in Chorley has resulted in a full explanation and frank apology to residents from the Government.

The incident led to a top level investigation following moves by Chorley's Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle.

It happened at around 11pm on Thursday, July 18. The intensity of the noise was such that many residents thought a major air disaster was imminent.

The Ministry of Defence's National Air Traffic Services initially denied all knowledge of the incident creating rumours of an MoD cover-up and even UFOs.

But after an approach from Mr Hoyle, Dr Lewis Moonie, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence, issued a full explanation by the RAF police and an apology.

The report revealed the aircraft was a Tornado from RAF Marham in Norfolk which was performing a day and night, low-level training sortie authorised to a height of 250 feet.

The aircraft entered the UK low-flying zone of 500 feet near Huddersfield and continued on its flight over Haslingden to Chorley.

The aircrew, who have been disciplined, breached the avoidance zone -- an infringement on low flying regulations -- over Chorley.

Dr Moonie states: "Such action is regarded very seriously indeed. Where warranted the incident and interview is recorded on the offender's annual flying record.

"This incident ought not to have occurred and we wish to apologise to your constituents for the fact that it took place."

Lindsay Hoyle MP said: "I am pleased there has been a comprehensive investigation and we have received a full explanation of exactly what happened."