A SHEFFIELD Hallam University lecturer says newly-released government files show the Ministry of Defence is "not in the slightest bit interested in aliens".
David Clarke, a UFO expert and journalism lecturer, said documents released by National Archives reveal military investigators tasked with probing a huge number of possible sightings focused instead on Russian activity.
Dr Clarke said: "They're only interested in the defence implications.
"The question is what are the Russians testing, and could any of these sightings be something of that kind? As soon as they have eliminated that, they're not interested."
The seven files, from between November 1987 and April 1993 and produced by defence intelligence staff, contain details of around 1,200 separate UFO sightings.
But some incidents were treated "very seriously", the documents show.
Among the items disclosed are photographs taken of a UFO next to a RAF jet over Scotland in 1990.
Witnesses saw the mysterious diamond-shaped object hanging in the air for about 10 minutes before it ascended vertically at high speed. Military experts could not identify the UFO - but speculated it could have been a secret new spy-plane being developed by the US.
Fearing there could be significant media interest, the MoD took the unusual step of briefing ministers about the sighting.
There is also an intelligence report quoting an October 1991 sighting in Kazakhstan of a UFO with "a semi-transparent halo and rays 'shooting out' in different directions".
A woman claimed she was approached by an alien with a "Scandinavian-type accent" as she walked her dog.
And people were baffled by an object in the skies of London which turned out to be a brightly-illuminated airship advertising the new Ford Mondeo.
- For free access to the files for a month, visit www.nationalarchives/ufos
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