By Aislinn SimpsonTop-secret details about hundreds of sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects are to be released for public viewing in response to the nation's continuing fascination with the subject.
The Ministry of Defence will release a total of 160 files dating back to that time to the National Archives in Kew.
The first files will be made available in Spring 2008 and the process is expected to take three years.
The MoD has received reports of over 10,000 UFO sightings since the UFO project was set up in 1950.
After investigation, around 5 per cent remain unexplained. According to Nick Pope, who ran the Ministry of Defence UFO project from 1991 to 1994, some of the sightings are "highly credible".
He decided to speak out about the failure to seriously address the issue after resigning from his MoD post at the Directorate of Defence Security last year.
He claimed that he and his staff spent their time releasing documents in answer to Freedom of Information requests from the media or members of the public instead of interviewing witnesses to more credible sightings
It is understood that the MoD has decided to release the documents because it receives more FoI requests on the subject that on any other.
Mr Pope said that while he was initially sceptical about UFOs, access to the classified files and investigation of a series of spectacular UFO sightings - mainly by police and military personnel - had changed his mind.
One such sighting was 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.
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.
However, the Ministry of Defence does not attempt to identify such aircraft unless it sees "evidence to suggest that UK airspace has been compromised by hostile or unauthorised air activity".
When the French government released all its UFO files earlier this year, the dedicated website promptly crashed due to the number of people trying to access the information.
Mr Pope said he expected to see similar a flurry of interest in the files, which he predicted would convert some sceptics.
"Whatever people think about UFOs, these documents are fascinating and show how the MoD has researched and investigated this mystery for nearly 60 years, without an answer," he said.
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman confirmed the documents would be released from next year. "There has always been a great deal of interest in this subject," she said.