VILLAGERS have told how they were startled when large military planes roared over their homes and landed on a local airfield usually used by nothing more than gliders.

A resident in Burn, near Selby, said the planes, which sounded like bombers, flew within a few hundred feet of homes and landed on Burn Airfield in the dark one evening last week, without landing lights on the field. He added that he thought residents should have been warned beforehand.

A parish council official said she lived a couple of miles away from the village and the vibrations caused by the planes passing by overhead were so great that she thought there had been an earth tremor.

North Yorkshire Police said it had received two 'reports of concern' from residents about low-flying aircraft.

Selby District Council said the Ministry of Defence had used the airfield for an exercise recently.

"As we own the land, they sought permission from us to do so; which we granted," said a spokesman. "I don’t know what the usual arrangements are from the MoD in terms of notifying people of what’s about to take place – if, indeed, they normally do so."

An RAF spokeswoman confirmed there had been an exercise.

RAF Burn opened at the heart of the war in 1942 and first hosted No. 431 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force as part of 4 Group RAF Bomber Command.

1944 No. 578 Squadron RAF squadron was relocated to RAF Burn from RAF Snaith, and the station was closed for flying operations in July 1945.[4]

The runways remain intact and are used by Burn Gliding Club Ltd.