Unexplained ball-shaped lights hovering over Smalley were just one of the reports revealed in Belper’s very own X Files.
A sighting of the mysterious low-flying object in April 2009, was recorded by the Ministry of Defence in records released by the National Archives.
In a statement, the witness said it was: “A round yellow ball which looked like it had a parachute on top the shape of a helmet.”
The RAF responded to the report saying that aircraft lights and natural phenomena were the “rational explanation” for these types of sighting. Chinese lanterns are commonly reported as UFOs.
A letter sent from Air Command at High Wycombe stated: “Unless there is evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom from an external source, and to date no UFO report has revealed such evidence we do not attempt to identify the precise nature of each sighting reported to us.”
It added: “With regard to your particular observation, I can confirm that we have received no other reports of UFO sightings so far from Smalley.”
Another sighting detailed in the files involved a low flying craft spotted by a motorist travelling from Matlock to Carsington Water in November 2009.
In a letter to the MoD, the witness said: “Its altitude struck me as odd, as did its lights. It seemed to have one light in the middle and two constant lights on both flanks. It had a small blinking light underneath.”
The reports were revealed when the MoD shut down its UFO hotline after more than 50 years faithfully recording reports of flying saucers, and patiently answering questions from the public.
The files reveal how the hotline, run by the National Archives department of the RAF, was closed after becoming inundated with Chinese Lantern reports from the public . By November 2009, when it closed, it had had 643 reports, treble the number of the previous year (208).