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The mystery north Norfolk bangs: seven things they could be

PUBLISHED: 10:23 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:21 06 August 2019

Young displeased man frowning and covering his ears. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Young displeased man frowning and covering his ears. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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People have used social media to debate what is causing the late-night series of loud bangs heard across north Norfolk.

The noises shook up residents in Cromer, Holt, Roughton and North Walsham but questions linger over the source.

Residents from the towns and village reported hearing the mystery bangs between 3.15am and 4am on Monday, August 5.

Rachael Verlander from Cromer said on Enjoy Cromer More's Facebook page: "Bit of a strange one but did anyone else hear what sounded like three gun shots at the top of Norwich Road last night?

"Heard the shots (very loud, definitely not a car back firing, or fireworks) then a car drive off. Me and my husband both heard it, so no I wasn't dreaming!"

With questions arising over the source of the noise, here are seven things the mysterious bang could be.

Cromer inshore lifeboat. Picture: RNLICromer inshore lifeboat. Picture: RNLI

1 - Boat distress flare

Some residents thought the noise may have been a distress signal from a boat. Boats have two main types of distress signals, pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic. Pyrotechnic signals create a chemical reaction that produces a flame or light, smoke or sound. Some common types include parachute flares, handheld flares and floating smoke signals.

Non-pyrotechnic signaling devices last longer than pyrotechnics and provide prolonged signals for rescuers.

Fireworks in Great Yarmouth. Picture: ArchantFireworks in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Archant

But the Coastguard has confirmed it had no incidents in Norfolk on Monday morning.

2 - Fireworks

Fireworks could be a very simple explanation for the loud bangs being heard across north Norfolk. With people using them for anything from fun in their back garden to wedding proposals and birthdays, it is a strong potential explanation.

Yellow car. Picure: Getty ImagesYellow car. Picure: Getty Images

3 - Car backfiring

A loud bang from your exhaust pipe is the sound of a backfire, which happens when unburned fuel comes out of the engine and ignites in the tailpipe.

As the noise was heard in several different locations within the same hour of the morning, it remains a possible answer.

The F-35s arrive at Marham  Picture: Sgt Steve BuckleyThe F-35s arrive at Marham Picture: Sgt Steve Buckley

4 - Sonic boom

A sonic boom is a loud sound caused by shock waves created by any object that travels through the air faster than the speed of sound.

The noise of a sonic boom is not heard in all directions from the object and is not only heard at the moment the object breaks the speed of sound.

As part of a major military training exercise involving around 2,000 troops, paratroopers from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment are transported by RAF Chinook helicopter, from Wattisham Airfield to the Stanta training area, near Thetford. Picture: Cpl Steve DuncombeAs part of a major military training exercise involving around 2,000 troops, paratroopers from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment are transported by RAF Chinook helicopter, from Wattisham Airfield to the Stanta training area, near Thetford. Picture: Cpl Steve Duncombe

With Royal Air Force bases all around Norfolk, a sonic boom would be a valid explanation but the RAF said it had no operations on Monday morning.

5 - Military exercise

A lot of unexplained loud noises can be put down to military training, either at army or naval bases or in remote areas that are regularly used for such exercises. Multiple areas across Norfolk such as Thetford, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Trimingham could have been in use for military training.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm at Seafield Caravan Park in Hemsby. Picture: James BassTwo men have been arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm at Seafield Caravan Park in Hemsby. Picture: James Bass

6 - Red car throwing firecrackers

Anybody else seen this tale in the comments? Several people have reported seeing a red car with firecrackers being thrown out of the window.

A firecracker is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang. The miniature fireworks were banned in the UK in 1997.

Man with his head on a laptop keyboard. Picture: Getty ImagesMan with his head on a laptop keyboard. Picture: Getty Images

7 - Coincidence or panic

People commented saying they thought the bangs sounded like gun shots. In this age of social media, panic can spread, and once one person says they have heard a loud bang dozens of others can follow suit.

While some may genuinely be looking for an explanation for what they have heard, others will just want to add to the hysteria and will claim to have heard noises just to see how the story grows.

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A spokesperson from Norfolk Police said: "We received two calls, one at 3.20am and another at 3.27am for reports of two loud bangs in the Cromer area."

"Officers went to investigate but did not find anything."

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