The UK's equivalent of the X-Files Fox Mulder' was the headline speaker at a spooky conference in Trafford last April.

Nick Pope - who, as a MOD official, was responsible for investigating UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, cattle mutilations and other strange phenomena - was the star attraction at the 2006 annual Paraquest conference.

The event took place at Sale's Masonic Hall, Tatton Road, on May 14, from 10am-6pm.

Organised by Sale resident and paranormal investigator John Slater, four other speakers also gave talks on a variety of topics including ghosts and reincarnation.

Speaking about his unusual position at the MOD Nick said: "Between 1991 and 1994, I was posted to a division called Secretariat (Air Staff) and was given the job of researching and investigating the UFO phenomenon, mirroring the work done in the US by the now defunct Project Blue Book.

"Although most of the cases could be explained as misidentifications of known objects and phenomena, a hard core of sightings defied any conventional explanation.

"Strong evidence emerged suggesting the presence of structured craft capable of speeds and manoeuvres beyond the capability of even the most advanced prototype craft operated by the Royal Air Force or the United States Air Force."

He added: "My unique access to new data and old government files convinced me that the UFO phenomenon raised serious defence and national security issues.

"I came across numerous instances where UFOs had been tracked on radar, leading to jets being scrambled. There were also cases where there had been terrifying near misses between UFOs and civilian aircraft.

"All this led me to believe that an extraterrestrial explanation for some sightings could not be ruled out."