HAVE you been woken up by the sound of helicopters flying overhead this week?

This could be why.

The RAF has been carrying out night-time training on Victoria Park, with several helicopters heard travelling over the town on both Monday and Tuesday nights.

Choppers were reportedly even heard as late as 11pm and midnight.

This is because the air force’s Puma Force, based at RAF Woodvale near Formby, has been conducting ‘essential pre-deployment training’ in the area this week.

The 33 Squadron will continue to operate until Friday, July 5, as they prepare to be deployed to Afghanistan.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Operating in an urban environment is a key skill required by the Puma helicopter crews and the training is invaluable, as they are unfamiliar environments for many of the crews.

“This helps to replicate the unfamiliarity they have with areas in Afghanistan in a safe environment prior to their deployment later in the year.

“The Puma Force is currently supporting the ongoing NATO training mission in Afghanistan, with their role dubbed Operation TORAL.

“They provide life-saving air transport to NATO troops and visiting dignitaries around Kabul.

“During their pre-deployment training, the Puma crews will work with 4 Para and 4 Lancs Army Reserves to ensure the British Army maintain their familiarity with the Puma helicopter ahead of future operational deployments.

READ > Driver jumped into river after 120mph chase with police

“While conducting their pre-deployment training, the crews will also work with local emergency services to highlight the capabilities that the Puma can bring to their operations and ensure that, should the need ever arise, the civilian emergency services can operate successfully alongside the Puma.”