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Increased UFO 'sightings' down to Chinese lanterns

The surge in UFO 'sightings' has been attributed to the popular trend of releasing Chinese lanterns at weddings.

There has been a marked increase in the amount of Chinese lanterns being released at weddings and public holidays.

One example included a sighting by a group of soldiers in Shropshire in 2008 who had seen floating lights in the sky. However this was later explained by a local hotel who were letting off Chinese lanterns at the time.

Possible reasons for the increase in sightings included the craze for releasing Chinese lanterns at weddings Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

Dr David Clarke, author of The UFO Files, said: "Many of the sighting accounts - such as formations of orange lights moving slowly across the sky - describe the appearance of Chinese lanterns even though people did not recognise them at the time."


UFO 'spotted by soldiers in Shropshire'

A number of UFO sightings have been reported in the Midlands including one by soldiers in Shropshire in June 2008.

A memo on the incident at Tern Hill Barracks in Shropshire describes how a group of soldiers had seen lights in the sky and made a video of it.

In the Ministry of Defence file, an unnamed official described how it showed a number of lights in the sky but their change of colour and square appearance seemed to be due to the photographer zooming in.

The BBC has reported that at the same time as the alleged incident, a local hotel was letting off Chinese lanterns and, apparently, the hotel manager thinks the whole UFO story is 'highly hilarious'.

I do not intend to investigate any further as I think we have our answer.

– Ministry of Defence official

The Ministry of Defence has now closed its UFO desk in 2009 because it served "no defence purpose"

  1. National

MoD closed UFO desk in 2009

The Ministry of Defence closed its UFO desk in 2009 because it served "no defence purpose", newly released files showed today.

The MoD said the UFO desk has no "defence purpose" Credit: PA

The latest tranche of declassified MoD UFO files showed the decision was taken to close the desk and its UFO "hotline" in a year when sightings reported to the department had trebled.

The decision was taken to close the desk and bring to an end the "UFO hotline" by officials who deemed it had no "defence benefit".

They also said the resources that were being devoted to it were taking staff away from "more valuable defence-related activities".