UFOs And The Law – Strange And Bizarre Sightings By Police Officers

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
October 17, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
32 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

While many in the UFO community have an interest in UFO sightings by military or commercial air pilots, there is at least an equal number of sightings over the decades involving police officers. And much like pilots – both military and commercial, the general rule of thumb is that sightings of UFOs by police officers, rightly or wrongly, are usually seen to have more credibility and are taken a little more seriously than those of the general public.

A UFO superimposed over a police car light

There are many UFO sightings on record courtesy of the police

As we shall see, these sightings have taken place for decades, and range from strange lights in the sky to sightings that are in much closer proximity, to even accounts of alien abduction and bizarre reptilian-type entities. And perhaps the fact that police officers have witnessed many of the more outrageous UFO and alien encounters usually reserved for members of the wider populace perhaps offers everyday citizens a little more credibility for their own respective sightings.

Perhaps it is no surprise that many of these UFO encounters involving police officers occur while they are on patrol duty, often at night while most people are either at home or in other indoor establishments. It just might be they are better placed to witness the strange activity that is going on in our skies. And of more intrigue, is the notion that they just might have more evidence of such sightings and incidents in their police files than has been made available for the wider public.

Veteran UFO investigator and writer, Gary Heseltine (himself a former police officer) has compiled a huge database of sightings involving police officers in the United Kingdom. And, given that many of the reports have been compiled by Heseltine himself, we will start with some of the sightings he himself has witnessed.

The Police Reporting UFO Sightings Database

Before he was a UFO researcher, writer, and Vice President of the International Coalition for Extraterrestrial Research (ICER), Gary Heseltine was a police officer in the United Kingdom until he retired early in 2013 in order to study the UFO phenomenon full time. Of course, due to his background and connections, he arguably knows more than most about UFO sightings involving police officers, particularly in the United Kingdom (where we will concentrate much of this article here). He set up the PRUFOS Police Database in November 2001 (although it was without a name when he first spawned the idea), a website that still exists today. [1]

Indeed, Heseltine has collected hundreds of sightings from police officers – serving and retired – over the last 20 years, including an incident that occurred in 1981 in North Yorkshire when two security officers who were responsible for the safety of a key member of (then) Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet, observed a “metallic UFO” that was approximately the size of a football field moving overhead. Heseltine would state that one of the security officers was so unnerved at what he had seen, he removed his gun and prepared to aim it at the object before his colleague warned him not to open fire.

Gary Heseltine

Gary Heseltine

Of course, Heseltine has had his own sightings of UFOs, the first before he was a police officer when he was a teenager. He would state in a recent interview that he was 16 years old at the time and living in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire. He was walking his girlfriend (at the time) home when he noticed a “bright white light” as they walked down a dark, narrow path. As the lights came into view, they appeared to “trigger several power grid failures”. He would keep the object in view as he made his way back home, claiming he was “able to predict almost to the very second where there would be another power cut” simply by following the position of the aerial object.

He states on his website that that incident “sowed the seeds in an ever-widening ripple effect that would eventually pull me into the field of ufology to the extent that it has become the all-pervading theme of my life”.

He would further claim to have been witness to two further UFO sightings while he was a serving police officer, both of which happened while he was off-duty. One of these occurred at night when he witnessed “three bright objects holding an arrowhead shape formation” and another during the day when he viewed, through binoculars, a “silver, metallic-looking sphere” that passed in front of his home.

Before we turn our attention, then, to some of the sightings that Heseltine has managed to bring together over the past 20 years, we will quickly remind ourselves of some of the most well-known sightings involving police officers.

Many Well-Known Cases On Record

We have examined several such cases involving police officers previously. Perhaps one of the most well-known of these was the incident involving Lonnie Zamora (sometimes referred to as the Socorro case), in which he happened upon a metallic, silver disc-shaped descending to the ground at the roadside while he was in pursuit of a speeding vehicle. What’s more, he would even witness several of the occupants of the apparent otherworldly vehicle.

There have also been several intriguing police chases involving UFOs, one of which, (the Portage County UFO Chase in April 1966 which saw multiple police cars follow an unidentified object from Ohio into Pennsylvania) inspired one of the most famous scenes in the late-1970s blockbuster UFO movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Just over three decades later in December 1994, a similar police chase involving a UFO unfolded in Trumbull County, Ohio during which multiple witnesses observed the bizarre aerial vehicle.

In August 1979, the Deputy Sheriff of Marshall County in Minnesota, Val Johnson, claimed a UFO collided with his patrol vehicle, something that damage to his vehicle suggested was an accurate account.

A police car

There have been multiple police chases involving UFOs

Alan Godfrey claimed to have seen a UFO hovering over a street in Todmorten in West Yorkshire in November 1980, a claim he has stuck to since. What’s more, Godfrey also claimed to have 15 minutes of time that he couldn’t account for. He would eventually undergo hypnotic regression and recall being transported from his car into a strange room, where strange entities performed several unsettling experiments on him.

We have also examined the sightings (and investigations) of the late Tony Dodd, considered at one point to be one of the United Kingdom’s leading UFO investigators. Before becoming a full time UFO investigator and researcher, Dodd was a police sergeant with North Yorkshire police, and had several sightings while serving, from the late 1970s until the late 1980s. In fact, Dodd managed to capture one of the first officially recognized pictures of a UFO in the United Kingdom. Dodd would speak of having a “subconscious calling” regarding the UFO sightings, claiming he began to almost feel when the strange craft would appear, something he was often right about.

These well-known and well-researched cases aside, though, there is a small plethora of other sightings on record. And it is to some of those that we will turn our attention to next. And we should note, the cases that follow are just a very small selection from the many that are on record.

Early UFO Sightings In The UK Similar

Perhaps one of the earliest UFO sightings on record involving the police occurred just after midnight on 21st December 1901 on Haworth in West Yorkshire when PS John Johnson and PC Clark were on foot patrol on a snowy evening. [2]  As they made their way around the streets their attention was captured by a suddenly appearing bright, green light that was so bright it “illuminated the surrounding area”.

It was clear that the light – whatever it was – was coming from above them, and both officers turned their attention upwards. There above them was a “luminous UFO shaped like a cigar” which was also “pointed at both ends”. It was moving slowly (certainly for its size) and would send out a flash at apparently random intervals. In total, the two police officers watched the strange object for around 15 minutes before it finally disappeared into the distance.

They would later estimate that the object was moving at an altitude of between 100 to 150 feet and that it appeared to ascend as it moved. Unbeknown to the two officers, they were not the only witnesses to this strange aerial vehicle. Residents in the towns of Keighley and Shipley also reported almost identical objects on the same evening and at approximately the same time.

Just short of a decade later, on 23rd March 1909 in Peterborough, PC Kettle and an unnamed police officer witnessed a very similar object.

We might note that these cigar-shaped objects are relatively similar to the futuristic airship sightings that had gripped the United States and Canada in 1897 and that would be reported in waves across the United Kingdom in 1913. Might the sightings above fall into the airship category?

The Bizarre Encounter Of Raymond Bronicki

In the book True Police Stories of the Strange and Unexplained Ingrid P. Dean relays the encounter of one-time Michigan State Trooper, Raymond Bronicki. [3] On the 8th January 1956, Bronicki was stationed in East Tawas in Michigan, close to Wurtsmith Air Force Base. On this particular day, with snow covering the ground, Bronicki and his partner, Max Waterbury, were just starting their shift and decided to stop near the state dock for coffee. However, their break was interrupted by a call from the desk sergeant.

A depiction of a UFO

Are UFO sightings by police more credible?

The police had received a request from personnel at Wurtsmith Air Force Base to send a patrol car to the Strawberry Marsh area – a largely rural and uninhabited area between East Tawas and Oscoda – following an unknown object appearing on their radar screens that had been hovering overhead at around 2000 feet for the last 30 minutes. Before heading to the location, the two officers stopped at their post in order to retrieve items that might be useful in their assignments, perhaps not least a rifle in case whatever was operating the strange object was not friendly.

By the time they were well on their way to the rural location the snow was at least two feet deep, and despite doing his best to force his way through the icy carpet, Bronicki eventually was forced to halt the vehicle in a “three-foot snowbank”. He immediately got out of the vehicle and retrieved a snow shovel from the trunk. It was as he was dragging snow away from around the front right wheel of the car that he heard Waterbury shout out, “Look at that!”

A Huge Oval-Shaped Object Hovering Over Strawberry Marsh

Bronicki immediately turned around and was so surprised at what he saw, his grip on the shovel loosened and it fell to the ground. There in front of him was a brightly glowing oval-shaped object “fringed in red and green light” and “floating” above the trees at the side of the road. So bright was the object that the officers struggled to watch it without squinting considerably. Bronicki would recall that “it appeared to be hollow, but it wasn’t”.

They quickly did the calculations in their mind, realizing that if this object was 2000 feet in the air as the military had reported, then it was truly a behemoth of a vehicle. They noticed how the entire area below was bathed in the glow of the object, something that they recalled “wasn’t a beam of light, but rather a brilliant, bright light that illuminated everything below”.

Even stranger, as the two state troopers noted, the object appeared to make no sound whatsoever. They quickly decided that whatever it was, it wasn’t a terrestrial aircraft, certainly not any they were aware of.

A depiction of a UFO

UFO sightings involving police are in abundance

Bronicki reached inside the patrol car for the radio and communicated what they were seeing to the desk sergeant on duty that evening, Warner Palmer. He informed Bronicki that personnel from Wurtsmight Air Force Base were on the other line. And the description Bronicki gave matched the details described by the military.

Eventually, after several moments, the object disappeared behind the trees and vanished. Bronicki eventually managed the free the car from the snow and the troopers made their way back to their post in order to submit their report – a report that, like any other, was freely available for the local media to pick up, which they duly did.

The next morning, they arrived at the airbase asking for comment on the situation of the previous evening, something which very much caught them off their guard. Bronicki would recall that the personnel responsible for contacting the police and requesting their assistance were reprimanded by their superiors. Orders were seemingly issued that police should not be notified of such incidents in the future.

Incidentally, the military would inform the press that “nothing happened” – a stance they continue to take on the incident.

Encounter With A Reptilian Creature In A Utah Mine

Although the date is not certain (although it appears the incident happened between the 1950s and 1970s), an incident with a “reptilian creature” involving an anonymous member of the Special Investigations department of the United States Army is certainly one of the most intriguing and unsettling on record. [4] The encounter unfolded somewhere in Utah when the officer was informed by a “confidential informant” that a dead body had been dumped in a nearby abandoned mine.

Acting on the information, he drove to the location and introduced himself to the owner, requesting permission to search the mine. His initial inspection of the area for recent disturbances uncovered nothing unusual. Then, he spotted the opening to a mine tunnel that was “wide open”, just as his informant had told him it would be. He shined his torch into the tunnel and instantly caught sight of what he thought was a young boy that moved into the corner and out of the glow.

A police siren

Why might so many police witness UFOs and strange creatures?

Instinctively he called out “Police, come out!”, before assuring the apparent youngster that he wasn’t in any trouble, but the mine was a dangerous place to be. There was no answer. After waiting several moments, the officer cautiously and slowly stepped into the tunnel, immediately noticing just how dangerous it was to be inside as he noticed all that held it up were support timbers.

He called out again to the figure, again trying to stress how dangerous it was to be inside the tunnel but once more no answer was forthcoming. Again, cautiously, he took several more steps inside, this time seeing slight movement in the shadows ahead. Not willing to proceed into the mine any further, the officer waited, moving to one side of the tunnel and looking to reach for the youngster as they tried to exit the tunnel so he could take them home to their parents.

After around 20 minutes, he noticed movement ahead of him, but only for a brief moment. Then, all was still once more. He remained where he was, staring intensely into the darkness in front of him. He was now starting to doubt if it was, in fact, a child. Perhaps it was a small bear, he thought. Although he didn’t draw it, his hand remained close to his gun. Then, he noticed movement ahead of him once more. This time, more continuous movement, although he couldn’t quite see any further details. Then it stopped again.

Trying to remain patient, he held his position, waiting for whoever, or whatever was in the shadows to take one last step toward him, which they eventually did. Raising his torch upward, he shined it directly ahead. To his complete shock, there in front of him was “a reptilian-faced creature”. He immediately turned and ran, beyond scared at this point. The reptilian creature disappeared also, with the officer recalling that it “dove into the earth like it was water”.

Sightings Of 1967 – A Wave Police Sightings In A UFO Wave

Perhaps because the entire planet was undergoing a wave of UFO sightings, 1967 also saw multiple reports involving police officers – perhaps particularly so in the United Kingdom. For example, at around 9 pm one July evening, Mr. Doy, a teacher at a school in Nottingham, reported a strange object overhead to the police. The officer who was sent to the school to investigate was PC Holmes, who witnessed the strange object for himself. He would report it to his superior, claiming it was a “bright light spinning on its own axis” as it hovered silently over the school grounds.

Only weeks earlier, in Stoney Cross in New Forest, Wiltshire, the police received reports of an “orange ball-shaped UFO” in the sky above the town, leading PC David Holloway to attend the scene. He arrived around 1:30 am and did indeed see the glowing orange object, describing it doing a “loop the loop” overhead before heading off into the distance.

A depiction of a UFO over a field

UFO sightings were reported regularly in 1967

Around 45 minutes after midnight on the 10th August in Wigan, Lancashire, PC Lionel Haw, and PC Steve Parsonage observed a bizarre object that was moving overhead while on patrol, an object that was moving much too quickly to be a plane or even a comet. They watched the object for around two minutes before it disappeared into the night sky. Although they were already convinced that they had witnessed something very “real”, their feelings of certainty were increased when Chief Superintendent Tom Andrews also confirmed witnessing the strange object.

A little over two weeks later, on the evening of 27th August, two sightings unfolded in different parts of the country.  The first of these unfolded in Oxfordshire between the towns of Spelsbury and Chipping Norton. Two unnamed police officers were on patrol when they noticed two “dark oval objects” seemingly hovering just above or on the connecting road between the two towns. The objects – which the witnesses estimated to be approximately 50 feet across – eventually began to ascend, disappearing from view several moments later.

On the same night, in Glossop, Derbyshire, six police officers, from different locations, witnessed a strange aerial object moving over the town. What’s more, they would all describe the object the same way – that it was “swinging from side to side” as it moved.

The month of October 1967, though, had an explosion of sightings witnessed by police officers in the UK. And it is to these that we will turn our attention next.

The October Surge

Although the date isn’t certain, at some point in early October 1967, PC Edna Wielk and PC Tony Connell witnessed a red and white-colored object while on patrol in Gosport, Hampshire. From their perspective, the strange object appeared to be hovering over the HMS Dolphin submarine base (another case with a connection between UFOs and water). They quickly exited their vehicle in order to get a clearer view, watching it for five minutes before it finally disappeared into the distance.

On the evening of the 21st October, in South Shields, a member of the public reported three strange triangular objects in the sky overhead. A police officer was sent to attend the property, and they too witnessed the bizarre vehicles above. They would report that they appeared to fly in strict formation before they came to a stop, hovering silently for several moments. They would also add that the triangular craft appeared to glow brightly. In total, from when the member of the public first witnessed them to them disappearing, the strange craft was in sight for around half an hour.

PC Clifford Waycott and PC Roger Willey

PC Clifford Waycott and PC Roger Willey

Without a doubt, one of the most intriguing incidents occurred in the Devon region of England at around 4 am on the 24th of October when PC Clifford Waycott and PC Roger Willey were on patrol. They each would suddenly notice a cross-shaped object that appeared to be descending in an arc, eventually appearing to land nearby. They each got out of the car and headed on foot to inspect the strange object closer. However, as they were approaching it suddenly started moving once more. One thing they were certain of is that the object was “not an airplane or a helicopter”. They would ultimately get back in their car and pursue the object for close to an hour. [5]

The following night, just over 24 hours later at around 5 am on the 25th of October, also in Devon, two anonymous police officers also witnessed a “fiery cross” moving over the town. Just short of another 24 hours later, at around 2 am on the 26th of October, also in Devon in the town of Okehampton, Roger Willey witnessed another object, very similar to the one he had witnessed only 48 hours earlier.

Just prior to the sightings we have detailed above, according to a report in the 25th October 1967 edition of the Evening News, yet another police officer observed a strange cross-shaped object. PC Bryan Cawthorne was on motorcycle patrol when he noticed what he first thought was a particularly bright star. He brought his bike to a stop and dismounted in order to view the object with more clarity. It was then that he realized it was moving, meaning that whatever it was, it wasn’t a star.

There were also several other sightings of the strange cross-shaped vehicle, one of which occurred at 4 pm in the afternoon when PC Keith Droudge witnessed a bizarre object in the late afternoon sky in Devon. He would later claim that there was “no doubt in my mind. It was a UFO. It wasn’t a plane”, adding that police officers had “seen enough planes not to be fooled like that”.

Several Strange Sightings On Record In 1975

In 1975 several UFO encounters involving police officers are on record. [6] Although the exact date is not known, shortly after midnight one evening, a police officer in Cleve Hill in Gloucestershire was sent by his superiors to investigate a strange light that was hovering above the police radio masts.

As he ventured toward the masts, however, he could see the light was, in fact, a strange but solid object that was hovering in the sky just above the mast. He went to report what he was seeing but realized that his police radio was suddenly not working. When he went to use his personal radio, he realized it was dead also. He remained stood outside his vehicle and watched the object for several moments. When it began to make its way away from him, he returned inside and began to follow it.

As he did so, he eventually found the object approaching from the side, ultimately crossing right in front of his oncoming vehicle. Instinctively, he turned the flash of his lights on momentarily. As soon as he did so, however, the object disappeared in an instant at “tremendous speed”. Moments later, another police patrol car passed him, stopping briefly. Although this officer hadn’t witnessed the object up close, he did witness it moving through the sky at a lightning pace.

At around 1:50 am one evening in August 1975, at the Salford Docks in Lancashire, PC Fred Pullan witnessed a “large oval-shaped” object as he was patrolling the area. As he walked along the docks he noticed the bizarrely shaped craft headed in his direction. It would eventually stop at a distance of around 100 feet, hovering over a nearby building. All the while, the object remained completely silent.

Pullan watched the object for several moments before it began moving once more before coming to a second stop over another nearby building. It remained there for several more moments before it suddenly shot off “at an angle, (and) with a tremendous burst of acceleration”. He immediately decided he would report the incident due to the possibility of ridicule from his colleagues (or worse from his superiors). However, he would speak to another police officer who was patrolling a different part of the docks. He too had seen “a strange light” earlier that evening leading the two men to privately compare notes.

A police car siren lights

1975 saw several UFO sightings reported by the police

Several weeks later, early one October morning, at around 6:15 am, PC Vivienne White and another police officer were on mobile patrol in Salisbury in Wiltshire. As they made their way around the quiet Salisbury streets their attention was suddenly drawn to a saucer-shaped object moving across the sky. They immediately came to a stop and exited the vehicle in order the view the aerial anomaly closer and with more clarity.

They would later state that the object was no higher than 700 feet off the ground, perhaps as low as 500 feet, and was a distinct yellow-orange color. At one stage during the sighting, the object came to a stop and hovered – silently – for just short of a minute before disappearing into the distance with breakneck speed. The two officers agreed they had seen something truly out of the ordinary and made the decision to make an official report of the sighting.

Several weeks later, at around 4 am one morning in Normanton, West Yorkshire, PC Robert Tomlinson was driving his car along the quiet streets while on patrol. As he did so, however, he noticed a strange object, shaped like a spinning top, hovering around 200 to 300 feet above the ground. Even more bizarre, the officer could see rectangular windows around the side of the craft, and glowing lights around the lower section. He would later estimate the object was at least 100 feet across. He watched it for several moments – noting how it remained silent – before it shot off into the distance disappearing within seconds.

The Multiple (Police) Witness Sighting Of 28th August 1977

Just after midnight on the 28th August 1977, PC Ian MacKenzie witnessed “two very bright horizontal lights” while on patrol in Windermere, Cumbria near Langdale Pike. The light moved in his direction, appearing to get brighter as they did so.

At the same time as MacKenzie witnessed the object, another police officer in the Keswick region, PS John McMullen, along with three other officers, also witnessed the strange object. He would describe it as being like a “hang-glider” or “diamond-shaped”.

Around five minutes later, two more police officers – PC John Fishwick and PC James Throhear – were near the Fallbarrow Park Caravan Site near Lake Windermere when they witnessed what appeared to be the same object. Throhear would later describe the strange craft as “triangular or diamond-shaped”.

The sighting reports would come thick and fast. Only two minutes following Fishwick and Thohear’s sighting, PC Alexander Inglis was driving home with three other colleagues in the car with him when they witnessed the strange lights in the night sky. As they continued along the road, the lights began to head in their direction. The closer the lights came, the more they could tell that they were, in fact, part of a solid object, although they couldn’t make out any of the details in terms of its shape. They did, though, notice a “faint purring” noise that appeared to come from the object.

Three minutes after Inglis and his colleagues’ sighting, now at 25 minutes past midnight, PC Joseph Maw spotted the strange objects, seemingly traveling through the sky at a relatively low altitude. At the same time that Maw spotted the bizarre craft, PC David Wild was on foot patrol when he witnessed what he described as a “kite-shaped” object that was quite obviously a “very large structured craft”.

There were also several resident reports. For example, at the same time as Maw and Wild’s sighting, Mary Mortlock witnessed the object go directly over her house. [7] She claimed to have watched as a large object with two white horizontal lights and two amber-colored lights approached her property before heading off into the distance.

Another resident, 63-year-old, John Platt, along with his with and several other members of his family, also witnessed and reported the strange object moving overhead, an incident that Platt would later claim was “uncanny and rather weird”. They watched in amazement as the approaching object suddenly stopped in the sky and then moved away silently to the east.

At around the same, an anonymous husband and wife from the town of Silverdale not only witnessed something strange overhead, but they managed to view the object with binoculars and so getting a much more detailed view of it. They would describe the object as being particularly large at the front with two white lights, and that it appeared to have a color of “dull, shadowy charcoal”.

At this stage, in part because of the multiple police reports but also due to several reports from residents of the area of the strange object overhead, a call went out to all on-duty officers to report anything unusual they might see overhead. Two of those officers were PC Geoffrey Merckell and PC Ronald Jones. They were positioned at Skelwith Bridge and reported a “kite-shaped” object that appeared to be heading out to sea (yet again, we might note, another connection between UFOs and water).

Incidentally, as noted by Nick Redfern in the book A Covert Agenda, around a month later, at around 7:30 pm on 30th September, a civilian (and anonymous) motorcyclist witnessed an almost identical object that which was viewed by multiple people in the early hours of 28th August. They would claim that the object was large and seemingly flat with “two very bright white beams, like headlights” at what appeared to be the front.

The 1980s METPOL Helicopter Incident

Although the exact date is not known, at some point in the early 1980s, a METPOL helicopter with a civilian pilot and a police officer took off from the London Heliport in Battersea. They were flying along the air corridor H2 and 10 when they almost collided with what the pilot, at first, believed was a remote-control model aircraft. When he checked the onboard radar, however, he realized that an unknown object was “circling the helicopter” and was doing so at very close range.

At this stage, the pilot reported to ground control that whatever had almost crashed into them was not a model aircraft, but a UFO. And what’s more, he now had a clear view of it. He would claim that the object was a “grey metallic disc” which was approximately four feet across. It certainly wasn’t an aircraft he had encountered previously.

Realizing he was in the middle of an extraordinary situation the pilot requested permission to pursue the strange craft as it began to move away from him. This was granted and he immediately set out in its direction. As he did so he observed the craft making movements that were beyond any aircraft he was aware of. It would “dart” from one place to the next, make impossibly sharp turns, and hover motionless one moment before rising directly vertically with unbelievable speed. What’s more, it appeared to do this without making a sound, with the pilot noting at one point that it hovered directly over a man’s head without the civilian even realizing anything was there.

The pilot continued to follow the disc-shaped vehicle until it suddenly began to rise continuously into the air. Eventually, at an approximate altitude of 3500 feet, it disappeared into the ceiling of cloud overhead.

The incident remains unexplained over four decades later.

Missing Time Under The Water?

Another bizarre incident occurred on the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan in September 1989 when a young woman was driving across it on a windy, rainy night. She would ultimately lose control of the vehicle which would jump the guardrail of the bridge, falling almost 200 feet to the water below. The vehicle had disappeared under the surface of the water within moments. A rescue mission was launched following a report of the accident by other road users, but no sign of the car or the missing driver was discovered. [8]

A member of the recovery unit at the time, as Glenn Sandford, a (now) retired state trooper with the Michigan State Police. It was during one of the dives involving Sandford and his dive partner that things turned a little strange. Using a toe line that was attached from the bridge to a concrete block on the bed of the water (at an approximate place where the car hit the water) the two divers made their way to beneath the surface of the water. At around 60 feet below the water’s surface, they switched on their searchlights. Although they could not see the vehicle itself, they did discover what appeared to be debris from inside of the car on the riverbed.

A depiction of a UFO

Are some UFO sightings involving police actually alien abduction?

As Sandford looked around, training his light in each direction, his partner tied another toe line to the concrete block and set out to search the surrounding area. Sandford remained at the concrete block, eventually reaching for his dive computer in order to check his essential readings. To his surprise, he was running low on oxygen and his system was telling him to make his way to the surface. He tugged three times on his partner’s line (an emergency signal), but he found the line to be slack meaning his partner would not feel it. Realizing he couldn’t leave his partner in case he became lost, or was himself in trouble, he set out, swimming above the bed in order to attempt to locate him. He soon spotted what he assumed was his partner’s searchlight around 30 feet in front of him.

He eventually realized that his partner had found the car. After several moments of him waving at him, his partner returned to Sandford, who immediately turned and headed back toward the concrete block. From there, he took one last breath on his oxygen tank and began to make his way to the surface. However, he realized he was too far from the surface to make it without taking another breath so he turned back to his partner, who after taking a breath from his regulator, passed it to him so he could do the same.

After taking a couple of breaths, Sandford began to make his way to the surface, against all of his better judgments. By the time he was being pulled into a recovery boat and an oxygen regulator being placed in his mouth, he was barely conscious. As he came to, he heard the recovery divers voicing concern for his partner. Both of them, it appeared had been way beyond their time limit for being under the water.

Although the car was recovered, there was no sign of the missing driver. What’s more, there was no explanation as to why they had been under the water as long as they had. Had they simply lost track of time? Or might something otherworldly have been under the water with them?

Sightings Involving Police Officers Continue Into The 1990s

As we might imagine, there are multiple sightings involving police officers from the 1990s. On the 24th November 1990, for example, a police officer on patrol in Taunton in Somerset at just before 3 am witnessed an extremely bright light in the sky that proceeded to split itself into several separate blue and white objects. He watched them for several moments before they disappeared into the distance. At around the same time, two police officers in Bridgewater observed a strange object that headed out toward the Bristol Channel where it disappeared from sight. What makes these particular sightings even more interesting is that air traffic control at West Drayton tracked an unknown object for several minutes at exactly the same time.

Just short of a year later, at around 8 pm on the 11th September 1991 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, two police officers on mobile patrol witnessed an extremely bright light moving in the skies overhead. So intrigued were they that they began to follow the object. After several moments, the strange craft came to a sudden stop where it hovered in the same spot for around 10 minutes. As it did so, it increased and decreased in brightness several times. Then, without warning, it suddenly shot upward into the sky and disappeared from sight. The same officers would witness the object again a short time later, but this time from much further away and only for several minutes.

The evening of 5th October 1996 was host to a bizarre multi-witness sighting off the east coast of England, with sightings coming from the towns of Skegness and Boston. Several police officers witnessed a bizarre “rand and green rotating light” seemingly hovering over the water of the North Sea. The object was also witnessed by several coastguard officers and workers on an oil rig. What’s more, radar operators at three separate RAF bases (RAF Kinloss, Neatishead, and Waddington) all confirmed they had the anomalous object on their screens. Although the military would put the sighting down to mistaken identification, those who witnessed the object were not as convinced, in fact, far from it.

Around two years later in Henfield in Sussex at around 2 am on the 23rd of September 1998, two police officers observed “several unusual lights” overhead while on patrol. It appeared each of the lights – which each the size of a jumbo jet – were separate objects and not part of a larger craft. Realizing they were watching something truly out of the ordinary, the officers brought their patrol car to a stop so they could get a clearer look. Almost as soon as they had done so, however, they witnessed a bizarre beam of light reaching the ground from above. They immediately set off again, heading toward the beam. By the time they reached it though, it had disappeared. Both officers would make an official report of the sighting to the Ministry of Defense.

Several months prior to the sighting in Henley, at just before 11 pm on 31st May 1998 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, another sighting involving a set of strange lights unfolded, from two separate locations in the city. They also appeared to separate, individual objects, and due to the erratic way they moved, did not appear to regular terrestrial aircraft. The objects were visible for several minutes before they suddenly began to accelerate and disappeared out of sight.

Heading Into The Millennium

As the 1990s and the twentieth century drew to a close and prepared to hand off to the new millennium, there were numerous multiple UFO sightings and encounters. And, of course, to interest to us here are sightings involving members of the police.

Once more, we will turn to Gary Heseltine’s database, on which, he records several such sightings (again from the UK involving British police officers). [9] For example, at around 7 pm on 9th February 1999 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, four police officers, in two separate locations witnessed an “orange UFO with a triangular formation of red lights”. These lights appeared to “revolve around the object”.

The officers watched the strange object for around half an hour, utilizing binoculars and so able to dismiss that it wasn’t merely a terrestrial aircraft. Eventually, it began to make its way out of sight, disappearing into the distance. Based on where the sightings were observed from, this strange craft appeared to be over the Peak District National Park close to the Derwent and Ladybower Reservoir.

A police car

UFO sightings involving police ocntinued into the 21st century

Just over three weeks later, in the early hours of 24th February at just before 3 am, three police officers – PC Headly, PC Hargreaves, and PC Dean from the Royal Ordnance Factory – witnessed what they would describe as a domed saucer-shaped object in Blackburn, Lancashire. So bright was this object that a dull yellow glow lit up the entire surrounding area. When they looked upward to the underside of the glowing craft, they could clearly see a black ring “going round its center. They would further estimate the object was at an altitude of around 500 to 700 feet and was around 30 feet across.

Another sighting occurred several days later, this time in Gateshead, when a police dog handler witnessed a “dark-colored cigar-shaped object” move slowly and silently across the sky before disappearing over a hill. The witness would estimate the object was between 200 to 300 feet above the ground and was a lot larger than a commercial airliner would be at that altitude.

Several months later, just after midnight on the 25th June 1999 near the Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire, two police officers witnessed a “strange string of lights” moving across the sky above the water. They would estimate they were a little over 400 feet from their vehicle, which remained traveling along the road at a speed of 50 miles per hour. Things turned even stranger when the object overtook the car before heading out into the distance.

At just before midnight on the evening of 29th November, four police officers from three separate locations observed a strange object passing over Tilbury in Essex. One of the officers would describe the object as being stationary and with a green-white glow to it with “red flickering lights”.

Police Sightings Of The Twenty-First Century

There are also sightings by police officers in more recent times. For example, in February 2021, a police officer in Evansville, Indiana reported strange lights in the night sky. [10] The officer in question – Trendon D’mechi – also managed to film the bizarre lights. In the video, you can hear D’mechi ask, “what are those lights?”, clearly perplexed at what he was witnessing.

A picture claiming to show a UFO

Does this show UFOs?

He was with his patrol partner at the time of the sighting, sitting in their parked car when they first spotted the “string of blinking white lights”. What’s more, although slightly “chaotic”, they appeared to move in an “orderly” fashion across the Indiana sky.

After managing to capture the footage, the police officer uploaded the video of the sighting to the police department’s social media platforms, which immediately sparked off a debate among online commentators as to what footage showed. Whatever the lights might have been remains a mystery.

Police Helicopter Captures Footage Of UFO On Thermal Camera

Even more recently, in June 2021, confirmation that a police officer captured footage of a strange unidentified object while in a police helicopter on 17th September 2016 surfaced. [11] According to the report, the UFO – which was not visible to the naked eye – was picked up on the thermal camera and was traveling at around 106 miles per hour.

What is particularly intriguing about the video footage is that it is very similar to the leaked videos in the United States that have been confirmed as genuine by the Pentagon. What is also interesting about the sighting is that it occurred over the Bristol Channel, once more suggesting a very real and definite connection between these mysterious aerial vehicles and the water networks and seas of the planet. Furthermore, the object also appeared, at one point, to be close to the Hinkley Point B Power Station, which perhaps suggests, as has been noted previously, that UFOs have an interest in such nuclear facilities.

A picture claiming to show a real UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO

Originally, only short snippets of the video were released. However, following a Freedom of Information request by Gary Heseltine, the full version was released into the public domain. Heseltine also looked to obtain the audio exchange from the police helicopter but this has so far not been released.

Heseltine would state to The Sun newspaper at the time the video surfaced that it was “verified police helicopter FLIR footage” that showed “an object not seen with the naked eye but clearly seen in the infrared spectrum”. He would continue that “the footage proves that objects, similar to what has been captured by the US Navy is being recorded on the same FLIR cameras here in the UK”. He would continue that it was, in his opinion, “highly likely that other helicopter crews have recorded similar footage”.

Heseltine also passed the footage for analysis from a retired police officer and helicopter crew member, Simon Conquest, who came to some remarkable conclusions, ultimately, that the object in question was “either an advanced military test craft or potentially, a vehicle of alien origin”.

Following the release of the footage, Heseltine shared a feeling of many other UFO researchers and enthusiasts in the United Kingdom called on the government to release all of its UFO secrets into the public domain.

Information in the report reveals that the object was not picked up by traffic control and was highly unlikely to be a balloon as it was traveling against the wind at an altitude of around 1000 feet.

Off-Duty Police Officers Capture Daytime Footage Of UFO

Four years before the sightings in Evansville, and around the same time as the above incident in September 2016 in County Durham in northeast England, two off-duty police officers managed to capture a sighting of a UFO on camera. [12] The pair watched the cigar-shaped object for around 30 minutes before it finally disappeared out sight.

Incidentally, the previously mentioned Gary Heseltine studied the footage and determined that it appeared to be genuine and not a hoax or something that could be explained as terrestrial aircraft. He would elaborate that the object could clearly be seen to “rotate on its own axis in a vertical position”.

Heseltine would further add that the object appeared to be between “200 to 400 feet in length” and was at an altitude between 1000 to 5000 feet. What’s more, the exterior of the object appeared to be metallic given that the sun was “glinting” off it.

Strange Lights Witnessed Over Brightlingsea

On New Year’s Eve 2008 going into 2009, a police officer in Brightlingsea in Essex witnessed an “alien craft” [13] during the day and managed to capture it on film. The unnamed officer would state in their report that they noticed “bright, orange-yellow lights in the sky” that were approximately 1500 to 2000 feet in altitude and were “quite large”.

They would continue that the craft “moved very slowly in a half-circle over the water” before it “shot straight up and disappeared very fast”.

UFO researcher and author Nick Pope examined the footage and dismissed the notion that the lights might be nothing more than Chinese lanterns (even though many people do set them into the air around New Year’s Eve), claiming that as they appear to “stop and then accelerate away upwards so rapidly” it would appear they were something completely different, adding that “one would expect a police officer to be familiar with Chinese lanterns”.

What is interesting, at least according to official files, the entire Essex region was home to many reports of UFOs in the months leading up to this sighting. And of further interest, only weeks before the UFO sighting in Brightlingsea, another police officer claimed an encounter with the “Beast of Essex” an apparent mysterious black cat often seen in the area.  [14]

What is interesting here, and as a side-thought, is that there is, albeit tentative, a connection between the appearance of these mysterious beastly felines, and UFO hotspots or waves. If we assume there is a paranormal connection to these strange, black cats, might it be that the same “gateway” that allows them access to our world is the same that UFOs use also?

An Unsettling Alien Encounter In Holland, Michigan

Kent Milner, a former police officer with the Grandville Police Department was sat at home in Holland, Michigan on the coast of Lake Michigan one September evening in 2008 watching television on his couch. His family were all in bed leaving him by himself in the living room. Then, something truly bizarre happened. [15] Without realizing how he had gotten there, he suddenly found himself stood outside his home in his yard.

He looked around him, noticing how quiet it was, and also realizing that this was not a strange dream. He happened to look into the distance, seeing a “pin-size light” that was followed by a “very bright wave-like flash that seemed to move through, and past me”. And it did so with such apparent force, it almost knocked him to the ground. A moment or so later, he felt a strange “presence” behind him. He turned around to see “three small grey beings just standing there”.

He was shocked, recalling how they looked exactly like the classic depiction of a grey alien in the movies – around four feet tall, with grey skin, slightly overlarge heads, and large black, almosnd-shaped eyes. Their arms and legs were also seemingly to large for their frame and appeared particularly fragile and thin. Despite the bizarreness of the situation, Milner recalled that he felt no fear or fright, and that it was almost as if he “somehow knew them”.

The next thing he realized he could hear them speaking, although not out loud but inside his mind. He claimed they told him that they needed his help, to which he agreed. Then, things changed again. Once more, with no memory of what had happened but somehow aware that a considerable amount of time had passed, he was now suddenly stood looking up at a huge craft overhead with a second, similar looking craft a short distance away from it.

He suddenly realized how tired he felt, and even how heavy his breathing was, as if he had been working extremely hard. In fact, so exhausted was he, he could barely lift his arms and didn’t have the strength to walk, using all the energy he had to simply stand up. When he noticed movement to the side of him, though, he summoned up the strength to turn his head in its direction. He was more than surprised to see two more people – who he didn’t know – standing around 10 feet away. He noticed they appeared to be in the same exhausted state as he and were also looking up at the huge craft above.

He also noticed that a bright light was shining behind him but he simply couldn’t turn around to see what the source of the light was. He realized that the grey creatures were no longer with them. Then, time appeared to skip again.

The craft was now suddenly much higher in the sky. Even more bizarre, as Milner and the other two men stood staring upward, a huge hole in the sky appeared while a thunderous clap sounded – approximately between 200 and 300 feet wide. To his disbelief, he could see “blue sky and clouds through the opening”, even though it was still clearly the middle of the night. The opening took on the look of a portal, with “clouds turning into themselves” around the edges.

The object flew into this bizarre opening and in what appeared to be no longer than a second, it had vanished from sight and the opening had disappeared leaving only the stars of the black night sky. As it did so, a strange thunder sound rang out once more.

The next thing Miler realized, he was sat on his sofa back inside his house. He quickly realized that his 8-year-old daughter was in the room with him, asleep on the floor (something she had never done before). Beyond confused as to what had happened and realizing it was now 5:30 am, he quickly reached for his daughter’s crayons and paper and drew what he had just seen.

The following day his wife and daughter went to work and school respectively, with Milner keeping the strange events of the previous night to himself. His wife would call him from work during the day (as she usually did) and informed him that their daughter had awoken at around 3:30 am claiming there were “a lot of bright flashing lights” outside the house. It was then that, instead of going back to bed as she had told her to do, that she had ventured to the living room and fell asleep on the floor.

The account from his wife sent a shiver through Milner. There was no doubt in his mind now that what he had witnessed was very real. Given this information, Milner was able to deduce that there were two hours that he simply couldn’t account for. And he had no idea why he had felt so exhausted just prior to finding himself back inside the house. Even stranger, despite having a history of good health, he suddenly experienced a bizarre flu that lasted for several weeks following the strange encounter.

He would eventually file a report with MUFON and two investigators would eventually visit him at this property. They would notice that some of the vegetation in the yard had died, as had one of the trees. These were roughly where the object had been hovering. It would appear that today, over a decade later, the incident remains a complete mystery.

Do Police Forces Know More Than They Let On?

As we can see, then, UFO sightings involving police officers are in abundance. And what’s more, they mirror those of the general public, both in detail and variety. Perhaps most importantly, as we examined above the thermal camera footage captured by the police helicopter, at least some are almost identical to the confirmed, credible footage that has been leaked from the US Navy over the last several years, meaning whatever is being witnessed over and around the United States, is seemingly also being witnessed here.

With that last point in mind, what else might reside in police records? Do they, as Gary Heseltine suggests, have many more similar pieces of footage? Do they have more files than they let on? Are these files shared with the military and the government? Might there be much more of an active interest in UFO encounters by the police, perhaps particularly in the United Kingdom, than they publicly declare?

While we should perhaps most UFO reports with a varying sized pinch of salt, generally speaking, police officers, like pilots and military personnel, tend to make accurate and credible witnesses. And, given the fact that they risk damaging their respective careers by publicly speaking of such encounters, it is perhaps no surprise that many of them wait until retirement before doing so.

While there are many researchers that gather military reports and released documents into UFO incidents (as well they might), those from police officers tend to, at times, become lost and slip under the radar. By bringing them back to the surface and to the attention of UFO researchers and enthusiasts today, do they help us bring together a fuller picture of the UFO and alien question.

The video below looks at UFO sightings, in general.


1 The Road To The Database, Gary Heseltine, PRUFOS Police Database http://www.prufospolicedatabase.co.uk/8.html
2 On Duty Sightings, 1901-1972, Gary Heseltine, UFO Truth Magazine https://www.ufotruthmagazine.co.uk/the-prufos-police-database/the-road-to-the-database/on-duty-1901-1972/
3 True Police Stories of the Strange and Unexplained, Ingrid P. Dean, ISBN 9780738 730912 (page 232-234)
4 True Police Stories of the Strange and Unexplained, Ingrid P. Dean, ISBN 9780738 730912 (page 220-224)
5 The mysterious Devon UFO police chase which led to an MoD investigation, Howard Lloyd, Devon Live https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/mysterious-devon-ufo-police-chase-3737232
6 On Duty Sighting 1973-1985, The Police Reporting UFO Sightings Database http://www.prufospolicedatabase.co.uk/3.html
7 A Covert Agenda: The British Government’s UFO Top Secrets Exposed, Nick Redfern, ISBN 9781931 044707 (page 131-133)
8 True Police Stories of the Strange and Unexplained, Ingrid P. Dean, ISBN 9780738 730912 (page 238-243)
9 On Duty Sightings, 1986-2019, Gary Heseltine, UFO Truth Magazine http://www.prufospolicedatabase.co.uk/4.html
10 An EPD officer saw strange lights over the city. No one knows what they were, Jon Webb, Evansville Courier and Press, February 3rd, 2021 https://eu.courierpress.com/story/opinion/columnists/jon-webb/2021/02/03/indiana-police-officer-spotted-ufo-strange-lights-evansville-aliens/4359900001/
11 OUT OF THIS WORLD UFO filmed ‘traveling 106mph & only seen on thermal camera’ by police helicopter in Wales as UK gov told to come clean, Henry Holloway, The Sun, June 22nd, 2021 https://www.the-sun.com/news/3133158/ufo-video-police-helicopter-wales-uk/
12 Is This Really A UFO Encounter? Off Duty Cops Claim To Have Filmed A UFO In The Skies Above England, Lauren Fruen, The Sun, September 14th, 2016 https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1775383/off-duty-cops-claim-to-have-filmed-a-ufo-in-the-skies-above-england/
13 Brightlingsea: Police officer saw ‘alien craft’, Emily Parsons, Essex Country Standard, February 8th, 2009 https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/4106328.brightlingsea-police-officer-saw-alien-craft/
14 Police hunt for ‘Beast of Essex’, Annie Davidson, East Anglican Daily Times, January 28th, 2009 https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/police-hunt-for-beast-of-essex-1956242
15 True Police Stories of the Strange and Unexplained, Ingrid P. Dean, ISBN 9780738 730912 (page 210-214)

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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