The famous Rendlesham Forest UFO ‘sightings’ were actually down to British soldiers getting their own back on the Americans, a new theory claims.

Dr. David Clarke, a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University and who assists The National Archives with their ongoing release of UFO files created by Britain’s Ministry of Defence, said the 1980 ‘sightings’ - which caused a sensation at the time - were down to British special forces pranking the Americans at RAF Bentwaters near Woodbridge.

After an anonymous tip off from a man claiming to have been in the SAS, Dr. Clarke has released his story about what happened that night after three years of research.

He claims SAS soldiers who parachuted into the American base to test their defences were embarrassed at being caught and imprisoned for 18 hours where they were subjected to intense questioning by US personnel, who called them unidentified ‘aliens’.

It is said the world ‘aliens’ stuck in the minds of the SAS as they hatched a revenge plan.

The elite British unit got its own back by rigging lights and coloured flares in the forest close to the air base, using black helium balloons and remote controlled kites to carry material through the sky.

The movement attracted the attention of the American forces, notably the deputy base commander Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt who was called to the incident by sentries who had noticed the lights.

He led a patrol to investigate the unidentified lights and later wrote a report to the MoD stating he believed they were a result of extraterrestrial activity.

Lt Col Halt, who has since retired, maintains his belief about the activity to this day.

The SAS prank theory, however has been met by some scepticism.

Former civil servant Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs for the Ministry of Defence, confirmed that the incident is still “unexplained”.

He said: “I’m sceptical of this latest theory. Having run the MoD’s UFO project and having undertaken a cold case review of the incident I can confirm that no explanation for the Rendlesham Forest incident was ever found.

“We looked at all the theories - and the claim that this was a prank isn’t new - and none of them fit the facts.”