It’s a radio station known for irreverent chat, where current affairs and topical discussion reign supreme. But Radio 5 Live took on a more otherworldly tone this morning when one of its own sports reporters claimed he had a close brush with a UFO.

‘Freaked out’ sports journalist Mike Sewell said he was left gobsmacked when he spotted a huge ‘disc-shaped’ aircraft hovering above the Hertfordshire countryside on his way to work in the early hours of the morning.

Mr Sewell was driving from his home in the Midlands to catch an early morning flight from Stansted airport when he saw the UFO in the night sky over the village of Cottered, near Buntingford, he claimed.

He called his employers at Radio 5 Live and his interview with presenter Nicky Campbell was broadcast to millions of listeners.

He said: ‘I was probably about 15 or 20 miles from Stansted at 4.15 in the morning and there was this big bright light in the sky descending towards the road.

‘As it got closer it then banked to the left, and as it banked to the left and went across the countryside I could see underneath it.

‘It wasn’t an aeroplane, and it wasn’t a helicopter. Certainly of a kind of – and I dread saying this – disc shape. It had several lights flashing all around it.

‘Underneath there were at least two large panel lights, soft white lights, and then it just sat or circled a certain area above the field for a few moments.

‘I was so gobsmacked, I was trying to negotiate the road, which was a small country lane. Eventually I dropped down and lost sight of it but certainly for two or three minutes I saw what, I think, was not a normal aeroplane.’

The well-respected reporter, who was flying to Sweden for tonight’s Champions’ League qualifying game between Glasgow Rangers and Malmo, said a van driver in front of him also saw the UFO.

He added: ‘I’d love the person who was driving in front of me in what looked like a VW silver transporter to contact the police or yourselves [the radio station] because they saw it as well.

‘I was wide awake and I’m of sound mind. I was completely freaked out by it. This was a long way from Stanstead airport –  at least 15 miles – and the aircraft was going westerly rather than easterly towards Stansted.

‘It was not the shape of a normal aircraft it was a big disc, round-shaped craft and it didn’t leave.

‘I watched it for two or three minutes before I eventually lost sight of it. I decided to go back again through the village. It’s a very quiet area and I’ve spoken to someone who knows it very well and they said there’s no military installations in that area so I would be intrigued to hear if anybody else saw it.’

UFO expert Timothy Good said Mr Sewell’s sighting was ‘absolutely fascinating’ and was ‘clearly not a conventional aircraft of any type’.

During the interview on Radio 5 Live, which followed his sports report, he added: ‘I’m most impressed, I wish I’d seen it myself. I would assume that a number of other people would have seen this object.

‘It might be extra terrestrial, it might well be one of ours. Top secret aircraft and spacecraft have been flown by the U.S. military and by the British military for quite some time now.

‘As Ben Rich said, who developed the stealth aircraft back in 1993 in the presence of two friends of mine: “We now have the technology to go to the stars”. And that was back in 1993.’

When Mr Good was asked to elaborate on where this technology came from, he replied: ‘Alien crafts. The study of alien crafts that have been recovered and by liaising with actual aliens who have helped us develop this technology.’