WITH the truth of why the Ministry of Defence closed its UFO desk in 2009 now being out there, we ask if strange sightings are taken seriously enough.
It has been revealed the decision to close the desk, and its accompanying UFO ‘hotline’;, was taken because it served "no defence purpose" and was taking staff away from "more valuable defence-related activities".
In a briefing for then defence minister Bob Ainsworth in November 2009, Carl Mantell, of the RAF's Air Command, said that in more than 50 years "no UFO sighting reported to (MoD) has ever revealed anything to suggest an extra-terrestrial presence or military threat to the UK".
The information comes as 25 files are released by the National Archives covering the work carried out in the final two years of the MoD's UFO desk, from late 2007 until November 2009. They include accounts of alleged abductions and contact with aliens and UFO sightings near UK landmarks.
Usually stories about strange objects seen in the sky are greeted with derision and ridicule, as this recent article about something odd seen over Bromley illustrates.
However, are people too quick to mock others who report unidentified flying objects? Can the subject ever be taken seriously or will people who claim to have seen UFOs always be dismissed as crazy?
While most sightings are given plausible explanations, some remain mysteries. Do you believe there might actually be alien life out there somewhere? How do you think we might one day discover its existence? Add your comments below.
7:18pm Sunday 19th October 2014
A Beckenham woman found a mystery snake in her house this morning.
10:29am Saturday 18th October 2014
Autumn is well and truly upon us and News Shopper have unearthed some interesting facts that you probably didn't know about the season of harvest, Halloween and fireworks...
4:36pm Thursday 16th October 2014
You can see some unusual sights in Woolwich but this really floated our boat - a man hovering in mid-air.
2:57pm Thursday 16th October 2014
A pigeon has been spotted on a train heading to Greenhithe.
2:59pm Friday 10th October 2014
A forager in Catford thinks he’s found the ‘world’s biggest mushroom’ and is hoping to get it credited.
4:39pm Thursday 9th October 2014
An 81-year-old former shipping worker led sheep across London Bridge as part of an ancient ritual.
3:28pm Tuesday 7th October 2014
Has a Native American chief been spotted in Brockley?
UPDATE: Trains cancelled and road closed after Halfords 'we fit' lorry gets stuck under Beckenham bridge
2:38pm Monday 6th October 2014
A Halfords lorry does not appear to be practising what it preaches after being stuck under a bridge at Eden Park in Beckenham.
3:14pm Friday 3rd October 2014
A member of the public in Crystal Palace nearly tripped over a misplaced leg of Spanish ham today. Waka Hasegawa posted a photo of the lost 'Jamones Alvarez' on Twitter today (Oct 3) after it cropped up on a Crystal Palace Facebook page.
12:08pm Thursday 2nd October 2014
An art group have painted a space with blackboard paint to encourage the Deptford community to draw messages and pictures in a space-related experiment.