The Tony Dodd UFO Sightings That Sparked An Alien Investigator

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
July 21, 2018
Last Updated
November 9, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

Tony Dodd is quite rightly still viewed as one of the leading UFO investigators in the UK, even after his death in 2009. Not only was his influence crucial in the organizing of independent UFO research in the United Kingdom, his influence was global with the international reach of his investigations. Dodd was not a lifelong UFO or space enthusiast. At the time of his first sighting in 1978, he was a North Yorkshire Police sergeant. And a highly respected one at that.

Tony Dodd superimposed on a picture of a UFO

Tony Dodd

Dodd would continue to see these mysterious crafts, however, during his last decade of service with the police. In 1988, he would retire from the force and actively investigate UFO sightings full time. He would not only become an expert in such encounters but of alien abduction and the sickly conspiracies that revolve around them.

Incidentally, these sightings would result in Dodd capturing a photograph of the object. He would send it for analysis at the Ground Saucer Watch in Arizona (GSW). The GSW are largely viewed as genuine and credible, perhaps in part, due to their having the nerve to take on the CIA in a court of law over Freedom of Information. Their actions exposed many cover-ups that could no longer be seen as “just conspiracies”. Dodd’s photograph was not only confirmed to be genuine (with a “nil” chance of it being a hoax), it also has the distinction of being the first confirmed photograph of a UFO from the United Kingdom.

A Cold Night In January 1978

In the opening chapter of his 1999 book ‘Alien Investigator’, [1] Dodd would write about the first time he was witness to a UFO sighting. It was around 2:30 am, and he was driving around the lonely roads of Skipton as part of his supervising of the night patrols. As he would most nights, he had with him a beat patrol officer who he had picked up a short while back, as much for company for himself as to give the beat officer some time off his feet.

This particular night, a call came over the police radio regarding a frantic housewife whose husband had not returned home. His instincts told him by the time they arrived at the property, the husband would be at home, all the worse for “one too many” and a recent tongue-lashing from his angry wife. Even so, they were dutybound to investigate the report. He would turn the vehicle on to a quiet country road that was a short-cut to their destination, the village of Cononley.

The roads were narrow and at points had sharp curves in them, forcing Dodd to keep his speed to a minimum. At one of these curves, both men noticed a “glow of light” around the corner. As there were no buildings along this road, the policemen expected to see an oncoming vehicle. As they turned around the curve, each was confronted with a “massive disc with a dome shape on the top”. It also had “small, round, dark portholes along the side”, as well as “skirting at the bottom”.

Dodd slammed on the brakes of the police car.

“Did You See It?”

As the vehicle came to an abrupt stop, each man could now see clearly the underside of the disc. Dodd would write that “three half spheres protruding from underneath, in a triangle” were visible. Dodd and the young beat officer opened their car doors and stood looking up at this fascinating craft. It moved at around twenty miles per hour towards some woodland in the distance. From their vantage point it seemed to descend and now only a “glowing ball of white light” was visible to each. Eventually, that too disappeared. After a moment of quiet contemplation, both men returned to their seats inside the car.

After a quick discussion about what the object might have been, Dodd started the engine. They drove forward, Dodd now in two minds about continuing to his original destination or pursuing the strange craft. If, of course, he could locate it. After several minutes, lights again came up in the distance. This time, it was the headlights of another patrol car. As each police vehicle met, they stopped alongside each other, their driver’s winding down their windows.

“Did you see it? Did you see it?”, came the excited voice of the driver of the other police car. Dodd informed them they had. The three police officers exchanged notes and ideas, before going on with their duties. Dodd would continue to investigate the missing husband who, as he suspected, was no longer missing but certainly not in his wife’s good books. He then returned to the station and made contact with Leeds/Bradford, and Manchester airports. Leeds/Bradford’s radar was shut down for the night, and Manchester had no records of any unknown crafts.

Dodd would continue his shift, finishing at 6 am, but not able to put the sighting out of his mind.

A depiction of a UFO over the Yorkshire Moors

A depiction of a UFO over the Yorkshire Moors

Many Further Sightings

Dodd would have many other sightings over his last decade with the police force. He would often bring people with him (at their request) who were eager to see these strange appearances for themselves. Although Dodd didn’t actively speak about his work, most close to him knew of his interest, as well as his sightings.

One time, for example, his son-in-law, Anthony Grant, would accompany him to the Yorkshire Moors. They would negotiate the quiet country lanes, eventually arriving at a hill which Dodd directed the vehicle towards. As they reached the top, a “large cigar-shaped object” filled their view. It was hovering silently and lit up with a “line of windows” along its side. Dodd would state it was “as if it was waiting for us”. The two men stared in awe at the huge craft for several moments. Then, a bright light emerged, and it began to ascend, eventually disappearing from sight.

On another occasion, this time with two colleagues, he was parked on the Moor late one night. They had been there for around three or four hours and it began to look as though nothing of consequence would take place. Dodd would step outside of the car to stretch his legs before planning on driving home for the night. As he did so he immediately noticed a huge craft hovering silently directly overhead.

“It was brightly lit in many colors, like the fairy lights on a Christmas tree,” Dodd would state later. His two guests also vacated the vehicle and all three men stood watching the other-worldly craft for several moments. It then shot directly upwards at a lightning pace and was gone.

A Subconscious Calling?

One “bitterly cold” morning in late-1978, at a little after 4:30 am, Dodd would experience another sighting. On his usual patrol duties with a beat officer in the passenger seat, the police car was hampered by the fact that it had been snowing relatively heavily for several hours. Because of this, they were forced to slow their speed considerably as they traveled along the narrow and twisting roads.

Suddenly, as they arrived at the top of one of the many hills in the area, they both noticed a bright light in a farmer’s field below them. Realizing even the most ardent farmer wouldn’t be out at this time of the morning in the current weather, Dodd brought the car to a stop and watched the light. Almost as soon as he did, the mysterious craft began to move. It remained low to the ground, skimming along the surface with the grace of a champion ice skater. As usual, there was no sound audible. Both men watched the object as it made its way over the fields, eventually disappearing into the distance.

Dodd would continue to drive out to the Moors. And not just when his police patrols called for him to do so. It was quite the norm for him to spend several hours four or five times a week sat watching the skies from his otherwise lonely spot in the north of England. Perhaps more importantly, he usually did see something. This, Dodd began to realize, was perhaps not coincidence. Perhaps, whatever the intelligence was behind these cosmic crafts, they were subconsciously “calling” him to the Moors. With this in mind, he decided he should attempt to make contact.

Acknowledgment And Response

Dodd would take to keeping a powerful torch in the glovebox of his car at all times. Whenever he was on the Moors and would see one of the mysterious crafts, he would stop his car and flash his torch at the object in an attempt of creating some form of basic communication and acknowledgment. One December morning in 1982, somewhere in the early hours before dawn, that acknowledgment came.

That morning, Dodd and two friends also with an interest in UFOs were sitting in Dodd’s parked car on top of Moors. Each clasped on to a flask-cup of coffee in an attempt to ward off the cold. Braving that cold, Dodd opened the car door and stepped out to walk around for a moment or two. He let out an audible gasp which brought out the two other men. Above them, a “large, black, triangular object with small colored lights in the shape of a diamond on its underside” hovered over them.

The craft began to move upwards prompting Dodd to reach inside the car and retrieve the torch. He quickly flicked it on and off several times while pointing it towards the craft. Then, much to his disbelief, the craft “performed a sweeping U-turn” and came back to where the men stood. It would hover at no less than fifty feet above them. He was so close he could “see the ripple-effect opaque material of the windows”. He would liken them to the “obscured glass look” used in modern bathroom windows.

Then, an amber beam of light on the underside changed from amber to white and back again. This was repeated several times and was a very obvious acknowledgment and response to Dodd’s signals.

Picture of a UFO, November 1983 by Tony Dodd

Picture of a UFO, November 1983 by Tony Dodd

More Than A Harmless Hobby

The sightings Dodd had been experiencing for several years already, increased following the encounter in December 1982. This only reinforced the notion that it was not pure chance that Dodd was present when they appeared. Again, he wondered whether the decision to keep returning to the Moors was his, or one “placed” in his mind by a higher intelligence.

On the evening of 7th November 1983, Dodd was with his wife, Pauline, during another encounter. In Dodd’s own words, until this evening, she largely viewed his “sky-watching as a harmless hobby”. At a little before 8 pm as they were driving between Bolton Abbey and Addingham, Pauline suddenly exclaimed in surprise, “My God, have you seen that?”

Dodd turned his attention to where his wife’s gaze was. He could see a huge craft overhead “festooned with hundreds of tiny red lights”. These lights would “pulse on and off simultaneously”. As the married couple watched the craft it would “sweep down” towards them. After passing closely over the top of their car, it made its way towards the treetops that ran along the side of the road. It was soon out of sight. Pauline, who would describe the object as similar to a “child’s spinning top”, would certainly view her husband’s sightings as more significant than a mere hobby.

The craft would soon re-emerge and would head straight towards their still parked car. It was not traveling with speed, however, which gave Dodd ample time to reach for the camera he kept in the car. As it was moving away from their vehicle again, Dodd snapped several shots of the craft. It would be one of these pictures that the GSW would confirm as being authentic and genuine.

A Continual Influence

Tony Dodd’s influence on the global UFO community remains, and his work is still valid. Perhaps because he did not enter the UFO community with any preconceived notions or even with an interest in the subject, combined with his investigative skills as a police sergeant, make his work all the more credible and valuable.

Dodd, like several other researchers, believed part of the sightings was a “choosing” of some kind. He would state that all he would have to do was think about the UFOs and they would seem to appear. As time went on, and what he believed was subtle telepathic communication between himself and the intelligence behind these strange crafts developed, he began to believe that the thoughts were not “him summoning them – it is more likely that they were summoning me”.

While this might sound a little outlandish, anyone who has seen a UFO will very likely tell you the importance of “luck”. Luck, in that you just happened to look in the right part of a vast sky, at exactly the right moment this distant visitor just happened to be passing overhead. Even more close-up sightings rely on a person being “at the right place at the right time”. Might it be possible that at least some of these sightings arrange themselves at a subconscious level? It is certainly a thought worth examining. It might suggest an alien presence that was not only intellectually more advanced than ourselves, but also more spiritually aware and in tune with the energies of the universe.

The video below features a short clip of Tony Dodd from the mid-1990s.


1 Alien Investigator, The Case Files Of Britain’s Leading UFO Detective, Tony Dodd, ISBN 9780747 275343

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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