ACCOUNTS of bright lights in the sky and even alien abduction have been made public for the first time in a batch of "X Files" released by the Ministry of Defence.
Defence chiefs have kept files on 11,000 sightings dating back to the 1950s.
Briefing documents for government ministers facing questions about policy on unidentified flying objects also form part of the release at the National Archives in Kew.
Defence intelligence staff were more interested in checking that UFOs were not, in fact, signs of earthly covert spying missions by other countries, the documents reveal.
The handwritten or typed records, released today, would seem to suggest alien spaceships hover mainly over Wales and Kent. But there have been a few sightings over Scotland.
The information was considered sufficiently important for a form to be produced which is kept by police stations and airbases ready to record details of such reports.
Interestingly, the number of reports doubled after the release of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977.
Eight files have been released after a Freedom of Information request by UFO researchers. In the next four years, more than 150 files will be opened.
Officials have dismissed 90 per cent of the reports as having mundane explanations. "Clearly some reports remain unexplained, but we have found no evidence that these phenomena represent a threat to national security and therefore cannot justify devoting defence resources to their investigation," officials said in 1985.
Drinkers see lights
Tunbridge Wells, 1982:
Customers of The Walnut Tree reported repeated sightings of red and green flashing lights in the sky above the pub.
When quizzed on the location of the strange lights they explain that they have been seen, on each occasion, in the direction of Gatwick Airport.
Two beams of light
Blackmore, near Stansted, March 1985:
A nightclub manager reports seeing an object shaped like a 50p piece.
It has two strong beams of light with red, yellow and green clusters of light on the underside of the vessel.
The object is seen in the sky for about five minutes.
Diamond in the sky
Arran, November 1981:
A Kilwinning housewife reports seeing a spinning round light in the sky through her binoculars while in her back garden with seven members of her family and a neighbour. The object was moving in a westerly direction and creating "a diamond shape" above Arran at about 5:25pm.
Something in the Ayr
Girvan, Ayrshire, December 1981:
A housewife sees a round object that she describes as red, green and brown in colour hovering south of the town. The object sat steady in the sky for about half an hour then started moving around for 15 minutes. She was reluctant to give her name.
Rendlesham Forest, southern England, 1980:
Among the most famous was the sighting on two occasions of unexplained bright lights landing near a US airbase. Even the deputy commander of the base put his name to that report.
It's a fair cop
Stanmore, April 1984:
A report from two police officers, responding to a call from members of the public who have seen a UFO. They saw the object and describe it as circular, with a dome on the top and bottom, with multicoloured lights.
Out for a stag night?
Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, January 1982: A round crimson object is seen shining very brightly with the naked eye. It was reported to police that the sphere was moving south to south-west along an old muddy deer track . Sighting lasted about six minutes.
Newlands, Glasgow, December 1981:
A report to Glasgow Airport reveals a pedestrian walking in Newlands saw three objects – two white, one blue, at 11:30pm. The white one led the others and was "dome shaped, like an inverted pear". Its bottom half seemed to be rotating rhythmically.
Hovering in the sky
Eaglesham, Glasgow, November 1981:
A round light is reported, hovering motionless in the sky. The observer who reported it to civil aviation authorities said he was looking at the phenomenon through binoculars. The report shows he then saw it head off towards Prestwick, in Ayrshire.
Wembley Stadium, March 1985:
A man in his third-floor flat sees a mixture of bright colours forming a banana shape through his binoculars.
The lights hover above Wembley stadium and towards Neasden, in north London. Caller says Wembley floodlights were not on at the time.
Elgar's sad end
Little green men seldom feature in the files, but one gentleman claims to have met them repeatedly. One, he reports, visited frequently and was called Elgar. Sadly, he says, Elgar was killed by another race of beings in the 1980