The British MOD UFO Files
Ministry of Defence Department

The British MOD UFO Files
Ministry of Defence Department (DI55)

The MoD department, which has dealt with more than 12,000 reports including 135 last year - was used to assess threats posed by any Unidentified Flying Objects sightings throughout Britain. Any reports made would now not be investigated or followed up as the hotline had been closed, a spokesman said.

UFO experts expressed anger at the decision. MoD chiefs made the decision to close the £50,000 a year department, established in 1950, after deciding there was no benefit investigating sightings which were an inappropriate use of defence resources.

It comes after the team was moved from the MoDs team, similar to the FBI team featured in the TV programme the X Files, was moved a year ago from the Whitehall Headquarters to the RAF Command in High Wycombe, Bucks.

After an application under the Freedom of Information Act, the MoD admitted that responding to every UFO sightings diverts MoD resources from tasks that are relevant to Defence. No decision was announced and the disclosure was instead buried on its website earlier this month.

Nicholas Pope is most notable for having served as a regular term between 1991 and 1994 as that agency's official first point of contact and investigator of UFO reports and sightings, in the department then known as Sec(AS)2a (Secretariat of the Air Staff)

It said that in more than 50 years no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom. After investigation, around 5 per cent of reports remain unexplained.

The MOD has no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extra-terrestrial life, the spokesman said. The MOD has no specific capability for identifying the nature of such sightings.

Accordingly, and in order to make best use of Defence resources, we have decided that from the December 1st, 2009 the dedicated UFO hot-line answer-phone service and e-mail address will be withdrawn. He added: MOD will no longer respond to reported UFO sightings or investigate them.

Nick Pope, who ran the Ministry of Defence UFO project from 1991 to 1994, said it was outrageous. Were leaving ourselves wide open to terrorist attacks, he told The Sun. The spokesman said the program to release departmental files on UFO matters to the National Archive would continue.

Britain's Closest Encounters

The opening installment looks at an incident dubbed the 'Welsh Roswell'. In 1974, locals near the Berwyn mountain range experienced an earthquake and reported seeing green lights in the sky. Some have claimed that a UFO crashed into the mountain and that the government has tried to cover up the truth.

More than 6,000 pages of UFO sightings
include reports of 'flying Toblerones', blue triangles and silky white substances.

The files span from 1994 to 2000 and contain accounts told to the police, military and Government.

Aircraft of all shapes and sizes have been witnessed flying over a wide range of locations - including Chelsea FC's stadium and the former home secretary Michael Howard's home in Kent.

A funeral director reported feeling physically sick and developing a skin condition after his car was enveloped by a "tube of light" in Ebbw Vale in Wales.

Another report contains details of a blue triangle hovering over a garden in Birmingham.

The man who discovered it claimed the craft shot off and left a "silky-white" substance which he collected in a jam jar. A Toblerone shaped UFO. An electrician in West Lothian spotted the "Toblerone-shaped" UFO hovering over a field.

Nick Pope, who used to run the British Government's UFO project, described the reports as "the real-life X-Files".

"The X-Files was hugely popular during the period covered by these files," he said. "But these are the real-life X-Files. Some sightings were explained and some weren't, some were funny and some were just plain weird."

Experts believe the records highlight how shapes of reported UFOs have changed over the last half-century and say this could be due to portrayals on television shows.

Perhaps the spookiest sighting released by the National Archives was reported by the police themselves.

Boston and Skegness officers captured their UFO on film. They reported it to the coastguard who in turn alerted ships in the North Sea, where a crew saw further UFOs.

At the same time, an unidentified blip was picked up over Boston by RAF defence radar.