SECRET X-Files detailing UFO sightings in Wiltshire are among documents released by the Ministry of Defence for the first time.

The Wiltshire Times has trawled through hundreds of UFO reports from 1978 to 1987, released on the National Archives website on Wednesday.

Following Freedom of Information requests, eight files of UFO sightings have been released by the MoD so far.

In total, 200 files will be released over the next four years.

Among the documents are several relating to Wiltshire, and several reported to military bases at RAF Rudloe and RAF Lyneham in north Wiltshire.

In December 1981 a bright orange round light with a hanging object below was spotted in Melksham and reported to the town's police station.

The eyewitness, who was at home, said the object moved steadily at first, moving towards them before disappearing in a westerly direction.

A large ball type object, bright orange in colour, was spotted in the sky above Great Chalfield Manor, near Holt, at about 10pm on May 17, 1985.

The eyewitness, who was with his girlfriend, was driving along Leigh Road when he saw the object. It remained static for about a minute before moving across the sky behind a house.

The witness then saw three orange lights appear in flashing sequences, giving the appearance of strobe lighting.

The report, received at Wiltshire Police headquarters in Devizes, said the witness had requested a visit from officials following the sighting.

On Sunday, June 2, 1985, a black egg-shaped object was reported in the sky above Bromham, near Melksham.

The MoD file says the UFO was photographed by the witness as it was moving from the direction of Marlborough towards Bath. Weather conditions at the time were described as clear blue skies'.

The Met Office fielded the initial call.

A large conical shaped UFO, red, green and blue in colour, was seen in Calne in September 1987.

Twinkling lights were reported at the base of the cone, which the eyewitness saw through binoculars as it travelled in a north-easterly direction towards Lyneham.

The sighting was reported to Wiltshire Police.

There were 750 UFO sightings reported to the MoD in 1978. This figure fell to 214 in 1984.

Sightings doubled in the year following the release of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977.

An MoD statement released this week said independent experts had concluded that sightings could be reasonably explained, with many attributed to aircraft lights or weather conditions.

It said reports are examined solely to see if UK airspace had been compromised by hostile or unauthorised military activity.

Files released this week are available to view on the National Archives website for free during the next month. Visit