SIX middle-aged "new-age travellers" were arrested at Stonehenge last night after a group carried flaming torches into the stones at just before midnight.

The group of four men and two women, all aged between 44 and 61, spent the rest of the night in custody at Melksham police station.

Three were cautioned and three were released without charge yesterday.

It is believed that 14 people were there to protest against plans to charge people to park at the summer solstice celebrations in June.

Carrying flaming torches, the group burnt sections of the grass within the stone circle and also spilled paraffin within the stone circle. Two members of the group climbed on top of the stones.

Lisa Mead, one of the group at the ancient monument last night, said on Facebook: "Open access to Stonehenge will never rest until our temple is free from the tyrant occupiers English Heritage, who have stolen it from the people."

English Heritage say trespassers ignored repeated requests from Stonehenge staff to leave the monument and one member of staff was physically threatened by a man blowing flames towards him.

Kate Davies, Stonehenge general manager, said: “How can people who claim to honour the stones deliberately disrespect and damage them like this?

"As guardians of Stonehenge, we cannot stand by and allow people to vandalise the monument in response to changes intended to protect and conserve it.

“We’ve had a lot of support for the changes to Summer Solstice not only from the public but from within the pagan and druid community.

"These new changes are necessary if we are to keep what makes celebrating the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge so special."

Druids have been quick to distance themselves from the group, saying it had nothing to do with them.

One said: "It was not sanctioned by druids at all."

The druid, who did not wish to be named, told the Salisbury Journal he witnessed the incident and saw people carrying fire sticks and flaming torches entering the stone circle.

"The two security guards were probably terrified, " he said.

Meanwhile, one motorist sent the Journal pictures of what he described as UFOs seen near the stones at 11.30pm last night.

But it would appear the image in fact shows flaming torches carried by some of the group.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: "‘Shortly before midnight last night (Tuesday, May 17, 2016) police were called to an incident at Stonehenge.

"Six people, four men and two women, were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Stonehenge Regulation Act 1997 (Destroy or damage an ancient protected monument).

"A 50-year-old man from Taunton was also arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class B Drug (Cannabis). All six currently remain in custody at Melksham Police Station."