A RUSSIAN rocket that once sailed through the earth’s atmosphere faster than any other man-made object today resides in a Wiltshire garden after being snapped-up by internet millionaire Rory Sweet.

Mr Sweet, 48, of Sherston, near Malmesbury, thought the Hypersonic Flying Laboratory - known as Kholod – was "the coolest thing I had ever seen" after he came across it at a car auction.

He promptly coughed-up £38,000 for the high flying craft which was once capable of almost 5,000mph before coming down to earth as a unique piece of garden furniture.

Almost 40ft long and weighing five tonne, the rocket was first flown in 1991 after being built by the Russians in collaboration with NASA at a cost $10 million.

For ten years it held the record for the fastest ever made-made machine before it was jettisoned as archaic.

Somehow it ended up at a car auction at South Marston where it was spotted by Mr Sweet while checking out vintage motors.

Mr Sweet, who runs the Cirencester-based computer company Zycko, said: "I saw it for sale at a car auction and decided to buy it, not really knowing what I was going to do with it."

He said the rocket had been stripped down and repainted by a company specialising in car restorations, and that he now planned to make a "bit of a garden feature out of it."

He said: "It's not something I've always wanted, but I saw it and I thought it looked absolutely amazing. I decided I had to buy it and find somewhere to put it on display.

"It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.”