COASTGUARDS were called out at the weekend – after "unusual lights" were spotted in the sky above South Tyneside.
A crew was alerted just before 9.30pm on Saturday, after reports of the lights off the Wearside and Marsden coast.
A spokesman said: "Our reports came from inland locations and suggested that distress flares might have been fired at sea."
Coastguards searched the coastline between South Shields and Sunderland, but found no trace of anything untoward.
The spokesman said: "There are several possible explanations for the sightings, including a full red-coloured moon partly shrouded by cloud, fireworks and commercial aircraft activity."