At about 1.15am on March 31, 1993, in what has been dubbed the Cosford Incident, there were dozens of sightings across western Britain of triangular shaped UFOs moving across the sky at speed.
There were sightings in Devon, Cornwall and the West Midlands but it was accounts given by military and Met Office personnel at both RAF Cosford and RAF Shawbury which gave the reports greater prominence. A report to the MoD by Nick Pope, who ran the government UFO project, said: "It seems that an unidentified object of unknown origin was operating in the UK Air Defence Region without being detected on radar; this would appear to be of considerable defence significance, and I recommend that we investigate further."
An MoD police patrol reported seeing bright lights in the sky over RAF Cosford.
The officers called the meteorological officer at Shawbury to tell him to look out for a UFO. He then claimed to have seen 'a vast triangular shaped craft flying at about 200ft' which made a low humming noise and fired a narrow beam of light which swept the ground.
Most described two bright white lights speeding to the southeast, leaving trails of luminous vapour. Some described a third light, giving the impression of a triangular object. UFO websites cite the incident as a major indicator of the existence of alien life.
Sceptics, however, have put forward rather more prosaic explanations. On the evening of March 30, 1993, Russia launched a radio satellite into orbit. The rocket booster which took it into space later re-entered the earth's atmosphere, breaking into two or more pieces as it did so.
All of the sightings of 'bright lights' coincide with a computer simulation of where the fragments would have been visible.
And meteorological officer Wayne Elliott, whose evidence at Shawbury was central, has pointed out that his sighting was an hour after the one at Cosford – and he now believes what he saw was a police helicopter.