The British Government may relaunch a team of UFO hunters in the wake of a US report into alien visitors, a senior defence source has revealed.
Ever since the Ministry of Defence's dedicated UFO desk was disbanded in 2009, no agency has been responsible for monitoring the skies over Britain for unidentified flying objects.
However, depending on the findings of a Pentagon report into UFOs, which have been renamed Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, there is every possibility the department could be revived.
Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, the source said: "I think that if there was enough evidence to suggest that there was something, and that we needed to do it as well as the US, then of course we'd think about it. We'd look at it. There's all sorts of things that we wouldn't rule out, and this would certainly be one of them."
The source stressed that the constantly evolving nature of emerging science and technology "can suddenly open up whole new universes" and it was important to ensure the UK does not lose sight of the need to "identify [and] track objects in space and in our airspace".
The source pointed to RAF Fylingdales, which tracks objects in space, as a current means to work with the US and others "to see if you can identify if there are more of these phenomena around".
The US Congress will next month be given an unclassified report on evidence collected by the Pentagon's UAP Task Force, the Office of Naval Intelligence and the FBI, something Ufologists are hailing as a watershed moment.
Earlier this month, Lord Black asked the Government whether it had any role in the US's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and what contact and information exchange it had with the body if it had no such role.
Baroness Goldie, a defence minister, said the UK "does not have a role" in the Task Force and although the MoD is "aware of the planned report, it has not contributed to it".
She added that the department "would be unable to provide any comments on the report ahead of its official release by the US government".
Nick Pope investigated UFOs for the MoD in a division known as the Secretariat Airstaff, which was launched by Sir Winston Churchill in 1953.
Pope's duties included investigating UFOs, but he told The Telegraph those duties were less "Mulder and Scully" and more "process driven".
He said: "The reality of Government UFO investigation was not quite that glamorous. We did not run around darkened warehouses with torches out and guns drawn.
"It was all a little bit more bureaucratic – it was like, here's a UFO sighting, let's check the radar tapes with the air force experts. Here's a video, let's get it to the intelligence community imagery analyst."
After the UFO desk closed in 2009, anyone who spots a potential UFO must report it to the local police.
An MoD spokesman said "in over 50 years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom".
However, Pope said it "was a huge mistake to stop investigating UFOs", adding: "I think the people taking the decision allowed themselves to be unduly influenced by pop culture. They had in their heads the phrase UFO and made false equivalency of alien space ships, and therefore this was a waste of taxpayers' time and money.
"They should have said if there's something unexplained in our airspace we should want to know what it is, particularly when it's been seen from time to time by our own pilots and tracked on civil and military radar."
He added that the Government's failure was to treat UFOs as "some science fiction that triggers the giggle factor" rather than "as a serious defence and national security issue, which is precisely the current mindset of the United States, and they've got it spot on".