The latest set of previously top secret UFO files to be released by the Ministry of Defence show strange sightings have been a continuing phenomenon.

The documents record calls from people reporting unusual lights and objects to the MoD’s hotline, which was set up to track any possible threats to the country from unidentified aircraft.

One report in the latest declassified files, which have just been released, states that four lights were seen above a witness’s house in Buckhurst Hill on October 10 2008.

The lights are described as “four very strange glow lights” and were seen at about 8pm.

Another report, also over the rooftops of Buckhurst Hill, recorded on May 2 2009 describes a “slow moving, silent, orangey red light” appearing at about 11.30pm.

It adds that the caller did not think the light was part of a helicopter or aircraft, but flew at the same height as a helicopter.

One of the strangest sightings recorded is of about 30 lights moving in groups of threes over Hainault from the direction of Loughton or Abridge at about 7.30pm.

The caller to the hotline said on January 5 2009 that one last set of five lights flew over their house before disappearing.

The files, released by The National Archives, cover the final two years of the MoD’s UFO Desk, which was closed in November 2009 when it was decided it served no defence purpose.

A previous batch of reports, released in 2011, revealed that orange glowing lights and a strange object were seen above Chigwell in 2005 and 2006 and a silent white object spotted over Loughton in 2004.

Full details of the latest reports can be seen by visiting

  • Do you remember any of the sightings or have you seen a UFO? Call the Guardian on 07795 507440.