THE UK 's X Files are about to be unleashed.
The Ministry of Defence is due to release 24 files, each containing between 200 and 300 reports of sightings, along with internal MoD briefings and correspondence. A date for the release has not yet been set, but it is thought to be only a matter of weeks. But today The Journal can reveal a host of mysterious sightings, having obtained figures under the Freedom of Information Act.
In 2006 there were seven reported sightings of UFOs in the North-East and North Yorkshire .
And between 1998 and 2006 there were 84 such reports, many of which remain unexplained. An MoD spokesman revealed they would only investigate sightings fully if it was believed they posed a threat to national security.
No data has yet been released for sightings in 2007.
While the North-East is far from the busiest region for UFO spotting, North Yorkshire has become the UFO spotting capital of the country. In 2005 alone there were 23 reports of strange things in the sky.
A spokesman for the MoD said: “The MoD examines reports solely to establish whether UK airspace may have been compromised by hostile or unauthorised military activity.
“If required, sighting reports are examined with the assistance of the Department's air defence experts. Unless there is evidence of a potential threat, there is no attempt to identify the nature of each sighting reported.”
However there are groups which do try to identify and explain UFO sightings.
Heather Stone, national co-ordinator for the British UFO Research Organisation (BUFORA), lives in Wideopen, close to Newcastle . She said there were many reported sightings every year but most have a rational explanation. She said: “I think between 95% and 98% of all reports have an easy explanation. It is usually military aircraft or something like that:
“Recently Chinese lanterns being released have created havoc for us as they can easily look like a UFO. And of course meteorites are always mistaken for something more mysterious. We also get a few hoaxes and people who just want some attention. But there are some sightings which cannot be explained. I had one story from a female taxi driver in Cumbria . It was New Year's Eve and she had just dropped someone off at Brampton . She got back into her taxi and started to drive off. She was talking to her sister on the radio when suddenly all the lights went out and the car stopped. “She got out of the car and saw a blue sphere hovering behind the vehicle. It then moved over the car before shooting off. “The whole thing lasted just a couple of minutes. This woman then got back into her car and began talking to her sister again who said she had been away for over half an hour. Both are very ordinary credible people. While I'm not sure I believe we are being visited by things from other planets I do believe many of the stories. Some things just cannot be explained. Suddenly all the lights went out and the car stopped'
UFO reports UK NE (1998 – 2006)
Numbers of sightings of UFO's between 1998 and 2006 in the North of England, including North Yorkshire, as confirmed by the Ministry of Defence:
2006 - 7 / 2005 – 29 / 2004 – 5 / 2003 – 1 / 2002 – 0
2001 – 7 / 2000 – 14 / 1999 – 13 / 1998 – 8