Why RAF helicopters were spotted flying over Merseyside

These photos show the moment when four military helicopter were spotted flying over Merseyside earlier this week.

The Chinook helicopters along with one Wildcat and Merlin Helicopter could be seen over Ainsdale Beach on Tuesday, July 21 at around 7.30pm.

The photos were taken by local resident Ian Hamlett who spotted the helicopter flying in towards the coast from out at sea.

Ian said that he had gone for a walk on the beach with his stepson when he heard a loud noise out of at sea before the helicopters emerged into view.

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He said that the helicopters came in from the sea towards the coastline around Crosby and then headed towards Liverpool.

Ian told the ECHO : "I took my wife's son out for a walk on Ainsdale beach because he loves running down the dunes.

The four helicopters were photographed flying over Ainsdale Beach on Tuesday, 21 July

"We heard a noise coming from out to sea around 7.30pm, it sounded a bit different from the helicopters I usually hear, probably because I only hear one at a time.

"At that point I couldn't see where they were coming from. A minute later I could make out four tiny dots above the horizon so I got my camera out.

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"They looked like they got close to the coast around Crosby then followed it towards Liverpool."

The ECHO approached the MoD to see if they could help shed some light on the helicopters and what they were doing flying over the coast.

The four helicopters were spotted flying over Ainsdale Beach on Tuesday evening (21 July)

The RAF explained that the helicopters were based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire and that they were transitioning to the North West as part of a training exercise.

An RAF spokesperson said: "This week Chinooks from RAF Odiham are operating alongside Wildcat and Merlin helicopter in the Altcar area, north of Liverpool.

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"You may see or hear us transiting to and from RAF Odiham and the north west at various times. They are conducting routine inter-service training with the Royal Navy essential to our aircrew's preparation for operations."

This is not the first time in recent months that military helicopters have been spotted flying over Merseyside.