© Unknown
Details of a mystery cylinder floating in the sky over Torquay, star-shaped lights with vapour trails over Torbay and a silver ship hovering over Brixham are revealed for the first time today.

All three UFO incidents are included in the largest-ever release of official files on unexplained phenomena.

But the Herald Express had already solved one of the 'mysteries' seven years ago thanks to a group of local teenagers and a £13 balloon.

Files released today by The National Archives reveal how UFOs were discussed at the highest level worldwide.

Among the files is a sighting reported by an un-named man from Torquay.

He wrote: "On April 28 1967 I, along with 100 others including schoolteachers, witnessed a silver UFO pass over Torquay at approximately 11.30am.

"The UFO traveled towards Brixham, where it remained stationary for approximately one hour.

"The object was observed by Brixham Coastguards, which was reported to the RAF in Plymouth.

"The object, after remaining stationary over the town, proceeded to fly off."

Another lengthy report deals with the 'Wales and West Country Sightings' of March 1993.

The incident began with a phone call from a police sergeant in Bodmin in the early hours of March 31.

He had seen two bright lights in the sky over Dobwalls which climbed fast and disappeared to the south, leaving luminous vapour trails behind them.

Police headquarters in Exeter confirmed that several other officers on night duty across Cornwall and Devon had reported the same thing, as had an un-named man in Torquay.

The trails were unusual and the silent flying objects were faster than a jet aircraft.

The official response was that the officers had witnessed the return to Earth of a Russian space mission.

However, two police officers in North Devon saw something quite different the same night - two objects leaving luminous trails, flying low and with a third light between them.

At one point the lights stopped and hovered, then climbed quickly and changed course, said the policemen.

The official response, with the author's name deleted, concludes: "Were the events on this night nothing more or less than the re-entry of a man-made space vehicle, or was it a UFO phenomenon related to that event?

"I think it may well be the latter.

"It must be the case that at least one, if not more, unidentified flying objects were active over these areas on the night in question."

The report goes on to speculate that the UFOs may have been monitoring the returning space craft.

The author writes: "It seems that this activity has been monitored for some years and that the Soviet authorities are fully aware that their space program has been subjected to some very intense scrutiny by unidentified objects, which appear disc-like and are able to traverse their air space at will and in some extraordinary ways!"

The official report goes on to say that a 'gut feeling' leads to the conclusion: "There is certainly enough evidence to imply a UFO presence over the West Country on the evening before and after the known re-entry of a Russian space rocket."

One of the mysteries contained in the files is somewhat easier to solve, however.

It is a reported sighting over Paignton at 5pm on May 25, 2004.

A long, black cylinder about 200ft long was reported flying at about 10,000ft in an easterly direction.

The following day the Herald Express reported a sighting by a golfer playing at Torquay, who saw the cylinder static in the sky for between 10 and 15 minutes.

Another reader rang to say he had seen the cigar-shaped object in the sky.

After the story appeared our switchboard was swamped with calls by people who had seen the strange phenomenon.

Paignton chef Nick Borne gave us a picture of the object in the sky.

One witness said: "At first I thought it was just an airship but I could see it clearly and there were no signs of control or propulsion." However, the mystery was solved a couple of days later when a group of Torquay teenagers came clean and admitted their inflatable 'solar airship' had prompted the UFO alert.

The big black balloon, launched from Oddicombe Beach, had cost them £12.99 at Argos.

South Devon College student Tom Thornton, then 16, said: "The string snapped and it just floated off. We never thought people would think it was a UFO. It is quite funny really."

The files are available to at