A siren ringing out from an atomic weapons facility prompted intrigue this morning. 

The so-called 'lightning siren' at AWE in Aldermaston rang out intermittedly between 9.45am and 10.30am.

AWE - Atomic Weapons Establishment - is responsible for maintaining the United Kingdom's nuclear warhead stockpile.

The facility - nestled between Basingstoke and Reading - provides government research, design and manufacture warheads.

The secretive site handles high explosives and radioactive substances under "carefully controlled conditions", according to its website. 

Basingstoke Gazette:  Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)

And that might be why residents were a little spooked this morning to hear sirens ringing out.

Burghfield Community page said the siren was a 'lightning' alarm to warn of incoming stormy weather.

A spokesman for AWE said: "Weather alerts are routinely given for our sites. Our tannoy messages are internal and for staff information only. No action need be taken by the public."

One woman replied:"Thank god that's all it is - I was about to get tooled up in my radiation suit."

Another added: "Glad to hear this - wasn't expecting the thunder just as I'd finished hanging the washing out."