Published: 14 February 2010
By Jenny Fyall THERE appears to be more of them out there... but we'll never know for sure. Scotland saw a massive increase in UFO sightings last year – just as the Ministry of Defence cut off its UFO hotline.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show there were 28 reported sightings of UFOs in Scotland last year. In the previous year, there were only ten, with nine in 2007.
Although some have an obvious ambiguity – the flying object seen near Edinburgh airport (it was white) or the one in Aberdeenshire reported as travelling "at the speed of an airliner" – there is a hard core that defy explanation.
But we can no longer rely on the MoD for early warning of a build-up in alien activity, as the only official hotline was closed last year to save money, and these will be the last figures published.
Malcolm Robinson, a UFO expert who founded Scottish research group Strange Paranormal Investigations, believes the hotline was crucial in finding a small number of sightings that may suggest truly bizarre objects flying in the sky.
He said: "I'm sad they've closed the desk. It's up to people like myself and my colleagues in Scotland to continue to investigate what is going on."
Among the callers in 2009 was a panicked man who reported a "bright orange bulb" in the sky in East Kilbride, which "came towards him like a tornado, then disappeared". Another told how a "bright orange light approached at low level… then it turned red".
The MoD says there is no defence benefit in investigating UFOs, so the hotline is an "inappropriate" use of resources.