Residents of a Welsh town were left confused and struggled to sleep at night after street lights were turning themselves on and off and doing other strange things.
On Tuesday night, Letitia Knight, who lives in Brackla, Bridgend, crept quietly to her bathroom in the dark to avoid waking her two children.
She noticed a light flashing in her garden and went into the living room for a closer look.
“It was bizarre,” she said. “There was a wave of darkness going from left to right, and then a wave of light, again, from left to right.
“I initially thought a technical glitch was causing it, but there’s one light outside my bedroom window, which was the only one staying on, so it really confused me as to why it was happening.
“If I had been out walking my dog or something, I would not have felt safe being outside.”
On the same night at around midnight, Lee, also from Brackla, was in bed when his fiance told him she couldn’t sleep because there were lights “flickering on and off” outside.
“At first we thought it was our neighbour’s spotlight and a cat had just walked past the sensor but it wasn’t,” he said.
“As we looked out the window, that’s when they all shut off. We can see most of Brackla and Coity from where we are and it was like a wave in that the lights would dim, black out and come back on again. It was really freaky.”
Unsure of what was happening, Lee took a video of the street lights and posted it on social media asking other residents if they knew what was causing the issue.
He first thought the problem could have been caused by an issue with the National Grid. One person said it could be aliens trying to communicate with locals while another said the setting would make a good disco.
Lee said: “It was like someone threw a switch and all the lights came off and then back on.
“It was like mini-blackouts every minute or so. It didn’t stop, it carried on even through the day.”
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Bridgend County Borough Council has since confirmed the strange phenomenon, which took place over two days, was actually caused by “a software issue”, which caused over 7,000 local streetlights to turn on and off independently.
A council spokesperson said the incident in Bridgend was part of a “UK-wide problem” reported in Manchester, Bristol and other parts of the country from January 13 to 14.
“It is believed to have only affected street lights which use global positioning technology to calculate what time the sun rises and sets.
“While these lights are in use within communities located all across the county borough, the rest of the area’s 20,000 streetlights, which are capable of detecting low light levels, continued to work as normal.
“The problem was resolved after the council’s street lighting team contacted the manufacturers of the affected street lights, who were able to reset them.”
Councillor Richard Young, cabinet member for communities, said: “I’m pleased that this issue has been resolved quickly. We have requested a full explanation on why it took place, and are seeking reassurances that it will not happen again.
“The vast majority of our street lights use photocells to determine when they need to switch on and off, but around a third carry out this same function using global positioning technology, and these were the ones that were affected by the glitch.”