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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 August 2005, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Axed X-Files blamed for UFO slump
X-Files kept the phenomenon of UFOs in the public eye
The demise of TV series the X-Files is being blamed, in part, for the collapse of a UFO monitoring unit in Cumbria.

The county's branch of British UFO Hunters says it responded to 60 reported sightings in 2003 - so far this year there have not been any.

The organisation says UFO sightings have increased in other parts of the country, such as Cornwall.

But the lack of reports in Cumbria now means volunteers are about to stand down from sky-watching duties.

Whitehaven-based Chris Parr said apathy was a big factor in the drop in UFO sightings.

Military aircraft

He said: "People in Cumbria just aren't watching the skies any more."

He said the end of the television series X-Files, which featured the exploits of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, was one reason for the decline in reports.

He added: "The X-Files kept the phenomenon of UFOs in the public eye."

He said the most memorable UFO sighting in Cumbria concerned reports of a UFO landing near Whitehaven Golf Club in 2003.

Mr Parr said: "Eight people reported seeing a 6ft (1.8m) long orange flame-like object come down about 500 yards (457m) off the coast.

"The most likely explanation is that it was a secret military aircraft."

Mr Parr said was now planning to write a book on UFOs in his spare time.

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