Residents were disturbed last night as a plane was circling for hours.

Southend Airport bosses told a councillor it was due to a non-emergency technical issue.

Disturbed residents contacted Labour councillor Daniel Cowan about the issue.

In a statement to Mr Cowan the airport said: “The aircraft concerned was a B734 operating a cargo departure. Soon after take-off the pilot reported a non-emergency technical issue which required the aircraft to return to the airport.

“The pilot followed routine safety procedures, maintaining contact with the control tower whilst preparing for landing. The aircraft was put into a hold circuit whilst the source of the issue was identified.

“As shown on the map below, the aircraft departed on R05 towards Rochford then headed south towards Barcelona. Upon reaching Kent, the aircraft returned to Southend and performed 3 x circuits before positioning out to make an arrival from the south west, over Leigh on Sea.

“The incident was managed as a local stand-by, meaning that it was not a declared emergency and no outside emergency services were called to assist.

“The aircraft landed safely, was inspected upon its return and later departed back to Barcelona.”

Southend Airport has been contacted for comment.