Mysterious flights which kept Emsworth residents awake finish

RESIDENTS in Emsworth say they have endured sleepless nights because of a mystery low-flying plane.

Many living in and around Emsworth have been disturbed by the noisy aircraft which has been flying between 1.30am and 6am every day for over a week.

Scores complained to the Civil Aviation Authority – only to be told the Ministry of Defence mission was top secret.

It has been discovered the light commercial propeller plane – which belongs to 2Excel Aviation Ltd – was carrying out a national security survey of a three-mile radius surrounding Thorney Island.

Simon Spurge, 53, of Orchard Lane, Emsworth, said: “It’s been going on for a week and it’s driving me mad.

“I’m a light sleeper so it kept me awake on Saturday and Sunday.”

Flying was scheduled to take place every night until January 28, but the Defence Science Technology Laboratory – the government body that commissioned 2Excel to carry out the work – called a halt to flying on Sunday (January 22).

It claimed all the necessary data, which needed to be collected at night due to the nature of the survey, had been gathered.

A DSTL spokeswoman said: “The aircraft which were flying over the Thorney Island area were part of an exercise at the military base being run by the DSTL, in support of national security.

“DSTL always endeavours to keep any disruption to residents to a minimum and apologises for any inconvenience caused.”