Military top brass were called in to investigate pictures of UFOs taken by a holidaymaker in Blackpool.
But after looking for signs of ET, they dismissed the photographs as a close encounter of the BIRD kind.
Details of the sighting were released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after it declassified large swathes of its top secret dossier on UFOs.
The three snapshots were sent to the RAF’s Air Command unit by a tourist, who said: “I have recently downloaded some photos ... which upon closer inspection revealed some aircraft which I could not identify at the time [or] could hear or see.”
But after being scrutinised, internal documents revealed experts didn’t believe the ‘aircraft’ came from another world.
“Everyone who has seen them think that two of the photos look like stunt kites that have broken loose from their control strings, or perhaps we cannot quite see the attached strings in the photos,” an email from a wing commander, whose name was redacted, said.
“That would explain the lack of noise reported by the photographer. The third looks like a seagull head on.”
But they added: “However, clearly without being there we can’t be definitive.”
The air force said no manaoeuvres were taking place in Blackpool at the time and date, 2.51pm on Friday, October 3, 2008, the pictures were taken close to Central Pier.
UFO expert Dr David Clarke previously told the BBC he didn’t believe the MoD’s files contained ‘any solid evidence we have been visited by intelligent life’. He said: “The vast majority of reports are ordinary things seen in extraordinary situations. So many things can be interpreted as unusual, you’ve got to eliminate all that noise and see what’s left.”
He continued: “There are many good examples of puzzling things, for example seen on radar by the military, that need investigating.”