Unexplained ball-shaped lights hovering over Smalley were just one of the strange sightings in a UFO report, details of which have just been released.
A sighting of the mysterious low-flying object in April 2009, was recorded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in records just released by the National Archives.
In a statement, the witness said it was: “A round yellow ball which looked like it had a parachute on top, the shape of a helmet.”
The RAF responded to the report saying that aircraft lights and natural phenomena were the ‘rational explanation’ for these types of sightings. Chinese lanterns are commonly reported as UFOs.
A letter sent from Air Command at High Wycombe stated: “Unless there is evidence of a potential threat to the UK from an external source, and to date no UFO report has revealed such evidence. We do not attempt to identify the precise nature of each sighting reported to us.”
The reports were revealed when the MoD shut down its UFO hotline after more than 50 years faithfully recording reports of flying saucers, and patiently answering questions from the public.
The files reveal how the hotline, run by the National Archives department of the RAF, was closed after becoming inundated with reports that turned out to be Chinese lanterns. By November 2009, when it closed, it had had 643 reports, treble the previous year’s total.