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The Truth Is Out There . . . for 30 Days

Britain's defense ministry says it will shred records of UFO sightings after a huge rise in the number of reports submitted by the public.

The Ministry of Defense said Sunday that new reports will be thrown out after 30 days, rather than kept on file.

It means details of the sightings will be exempt from freedom of information laws that have allowed campaigners to force Britain's government to disclose details of apparent UFO encounters.

The ministry had 634 reports of UFO sightings in 2009, the highest total since 1978 when the public submitted 750.

In December, Britain scrapped a phone line and e-mail account for the public to report details of UFO activity.

Britons who think they've seen Martian craft in the sky will not be able to enlist the services of Her Majesty's armed forces by reporting suspicious aerial activity to a toll-free phone number and an e-mail address.

The quiet closure of the phone hotline and deactivation of the e-mail account in December has angered the many Britons who believe UFO research is vital.

Britain's government said the service was a waste of defense resources.
Military officials say the UFO office has outlived its usefulness.

"None of the thousands of UFO sightings reported over the years have ever provided substantiated proof of the existence of extraterrestrials," a Defense Ministry spokesman said. "There is no defense value in investigating UFO reports."

The military is taking no position on the existence or nonexistence of UFOs but has concluded that in 50 years none of the many reported UFO sightings turned out to be a national security threat.

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