UFO reports from Norfolk and Suffolk go online

Anthony CarrollOn a holiday to the Broads you would expect to see wildfowl, reed beds and dragonflies.However you can imagine the shock if you glimpsed a UFO flying over Rollesby Broad, near Great Yarmouth.Anthony Carroll

On a holiday to the Broads you would expect to see wildfowl, reed beds and dragonflies.

However you can imagine the shock if you glimpsed a UFO flying over Rollesby Broad, near Great Yarmouth.

But then think of the embarrassment if it turned out the sighting was the only a reflection from your camera.

Sadly for three fishermen from Essex that is what exactly happened after they apparantly video taped a strange diamond shaped object flying over them.

Although the Rollesby Broads incident happened in October 1993, it is back in the public limelight after the release of Ministry of Defence files today.

A press cutting from the time and the results of a MOD enquiry are featured in 5,000 pages of UFO reports, letters and sketches of strange craft which are now available on the National Archives' web site.

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Also featured in the large online resource are reports of UFOs buzzing Norwich and the Wash.

There are also detailed statements from one of the most famous UFO cases in Britain - the 1980 Rendlesham Forest mystery.

The Rollesby Broad incident was reported in the Mail on Sunday and involved Dagenham fishermen Mark Wilkins, Bill Deuters and Stephen Farrow

They recorded a mysterious diamond shaped object on a video camera.

A MOD report from Whitehall said: 'I can tell you that records confirm that there was no evidence to suggest that the UK Air Defence Region had been compromised and as such official interest in the sighting ceased.

'You may be interested to know that the video footage was examined at the time by various photographic experts and it was concluded that the diamond shape seen in the video could be attributed to a reflection of the camcorder's iris.'

Another possible UFO sighting features a letter to the MOD from a villager in Icklingham, near Mildenhall, from 1997.

The write spotted a flat circle like shape which was revolving about 30ft in the air by the A14 towards Newmarket.

In a reply to the letter writer the MOD said: 'I can confirm that we received no other reports of 'UFO' sightings in Suffolk or surrounding areas on Mar 30 97, and are satisfied that there is no corroborating evidence to suggest that the United kingdom's airspace was breached by unauthorised military aircraft.

As stated above that is the MOD's only concern.'

The release of the files today also shows how the MOD kept copies of media reports of UFO sightings.

Included in the 5,000 pages is a press cutting from the Daily Express in November 1995 featuring Norwich man Glenn Webster.

The 32-year-old filmed a zig-zagging object that looked like a Batman symbol or half eaten Farley's Rusk from his bedroom. People in Great Yarmouth also claimed to see the object.

Although there is no MOD paperwork to go with the press cutting an official source is quoted in the story as saying 'it was not aware that this is a matter of defence concern'.

The online reports also detail how a stationary multi-coloured light was spotted off Skegness in October 1996 and reported to the Yarmouth coastguard rescue co-ordination centre.

The control and reporting centre at RAF Neatishead, near Cromer was called into the monitor the situation and said it had no unidentified contacts on its radar.

Again an MOD report says that there was no evidence that UK airspace had been breached.

The final report involving Norfolk and Suffolk features the famous possible alien landing in Rendlesham Forest by RAF Woodbridge which was seen by United States Air Force security personnel.

A Statement by USAF staff sergeant Jim Penniston shows how he saw a strange glowing triangular object in the forest which had a smooth exterior shell and seemed under intelligent control.

The documents also show sketches of the object made by the USAF policeman.

After seeing a mysterious object fly past him Colonel Charles Halt, deputy base commander of RAF Woodbridge, is quoted 17 years later, as saying: 'Something unexplained happened. To this day, I don't know what it was.'

A statement from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Defence the Earl Howe said the MOD was satisfied airspace had not been breached and no official report into the matter was needed.

The 5,000 pages of documents available on the National Archives' web site provide a fascinating insight into how the seriously UFO were taken by different governments.

The latest batch of UFO files include a memorandum from 1957 about 'aerial phenomena' prepared for the Cabinet Office's Joint Intelligence Committee.

At the time up to four UFOs were being tracked by RAF radar stations a week.

However by 1997 the Ministry of Defence was no longer interested in UFOs as a defence problem and closed its public UFO hot line and UFO desk 12 years later.

The online resource shows how before the 2009 closures the MOD was contacted over or investigated several strange incidents.

Between 1991 and 1996 the public reported almost 1,200 UFO incidents with the success of science fiction television programmes like the X Files leading to more than 600 reports and 343 letters from the public in 1996.

Included in the documents is a psychic premonition of a terrorist attack on a RAF base in 1990, a mountain rescue team called out to investigate a 'crashed UFO' in Wales in 1974 and several break-ins at the RAF Rudloe Manor in Wiltshire- which was called Britain's Area 51 UFO hot spot.

Also featured is the story of 14 missing minutes of a film relating to a test launch of the Blue Streak missile in 1964 which was believed by some UFOologists to show a 'spaceman'.

An account can also be read of a wartime meeting in which Prime Minister Winston Churchill is alleged to have discussed a UFO encounter with an RAF bomber.

On a more light-hearted front the documents also detail how a man from Leeds placed a 100-1 bet with Ladbrokes that alien life would be discovered.

The punter had asked the MOD to provide him with proof of alien life forms after Ladbrokes refused to pay out.

The files can be viewed by logging onto www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos