This Is LondonBritain is "wide open" to alien visitors and a department meant to look into UFO sightings is virtually "closed down", a former Government expert warned today.
Despite a series of "highly credible" sightings and landings in UK territory of metallic aircraft projecting lightbeams and emitting humming sounds, there is no longer formal interviewing of witnesses or investigation into the sightings, he said.
Instead, those working for the Ministry of Defence UFO project spend their time releasing formerly classified documents in answer to Freedom of Information requests from the media or members of the public.
Nick Pope, who ran the Ministry of Defence UFO project from 1991 to 1994, said he decided to speak out about the failure to seriously address the issue for the first time since resigning from his MoD post at the Directorate of Defence Security this week.
"The consequences of getting this one wrong could be huge," he said.
"If you reported a UFO sighting now, I am absolutely sure that you would just get back a standard letter telling you not to worry." "Frankly we are wide open - if something does not behave like a conventional aircraft now, it will be ignored."
"The X-Files have been closed down."
While there is no evidence of UFO hostile intent, he said, it cannot be ruled out.
"There has got to be the potential for that and one is left with the uneasy feeling that if it turned out to be so, there is very little we could do about it," he said.
"If you believe these things are extra terrestrial craft then you cannot rule out that what is happening is some kind of covert reconnaissance."
He said he was initially sceptical about UFOs, but access to classified files on the subject and investigation of a series of spectacular UFO sightings gradually changed his mind.
Among these he cited reports of a "vast, triangular-shaped craft" firing a narrow beam of light onto the ground and emitting a low-frequency humming sound that was spotted flying over RAF Cosford in the West Midlands and RAF Shawbury in Shropshire in 1993.
"Most of the witnesses were police and military personnel," he said.
"Hundreds of members of the public also had sightings over a period of several hours."
"A meteorological officer described how it moved at a very slow speed, around 30-40 miles per hour, then very suddenly accelerated beyond the horizon in seconds."
In another incident, at the Twin Bases of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk in December 1980, RAF staff were sent to investigate a suspected plane crash after bright lights were reported emanating from nearby woods.
They found a kind of lunar landing module standing on three legs, decorated with strange hieroglyphic-type markings, which then flew off.
The indents it left in the ground were examined the next morning with a Geiger Counter and emitted ten times the normal levels of radiation.
"These sort of incidents are why I got so frustrated," Mr Pope said.
"In my time I would brief the more interesting sightings up the chain of command to people like the Chief of the Air Staff and would get the answer back that it was very interesting and I had clearly done a good job investigating it and that was it."
"Every one is a piece of a puzzle but no one takes it seriously."
"There needs to be more resources and people who are prepared to look past the philosophical issues, look at the reports and investigate them properly."
"Whether you believe these things are foreign air forces testing prototype aircraft or whether you believe they are something more exotic, with the speeds and movements they are capable of, it's technology we would very much like to get hold of."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence insisted that all UFO sightings were investigated for "evidence to suggest that UK airspace has been compromised by hostile or unauthorised air activity."
She said: "Unless there is such evidence, the MoD doesn't attempt to positively identify what was seen."
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