LANCASHIRE has been named one of the country's best places to spot a UFO.

A total of 23 unidentified flying objects have been recorded in Lancashire since 1961, according to official figures.

Only two places had more sightings: West Yorkshire with 34 and Nottingham with 29.

A UFO is any object that cannot initially be identified as an airplane, helicopter, blimp, balloon, kite, or any other object that normally flies.

The most recent sighting in East Lancashire was in 2005 when a UFO was reported hovering over Nelson. The object was described as white in colour and chewy mint in shape' and was spotted at 11.15am on May 20 2005.

Nick Pope, from the former head of the Government's UFO project who help reveal the statistics, said: "It's fantastic to see local folk taking an interest in UFO activity and keeping an eye on the sky.

"While we currently have no explanation why certain places in the UK are alien hot spots, as the research reveals, there are areas where mysterious objects are repeatedly witnessed, so people who want to alien-spot should definitely head to Lancashire."

Back in 1980, a police officer was involved in one of the area's most famous UFO 'incidents'.

The officer had gone to investigate reports of a UFO in Todmorden and claimed to lose 15 minutes of his life. When he was placed under hypnosis he recounted being interrogated by a "humanoid and a robot" inside a UFO.

That year an Accrington woman claimed she had made love by telepathy with an alien. Her claims were being investigating by a paranormal group which kept her identity a secret.

One of the most fervent recents sightings of a UFOs were made by residents in Rivington in 1998.

Reports poured in of a strange object in the sky on the night of Easter Sunday.

A year later the Ministry of Defence launched an investigation into UFO sighting in the Rossendale Valley after a vehicle engineer claimed he saw a huge dome-shaped object on the ground.

In March 1995, a Barnoldswick pub landlord claimed that she saw a squadron of fighter planes chasing a glowing white UFC across remote Pendle woodland.

Despite all the claims, former NASA astronomer Dr Ian Griffin, who now lives in Todmorden where he studies the skies from his garden, said most UFO sightings could be explained.

Dr Griffin said: "There are some big areas of countryside in Lancashire.

"A lot of people don;t know the sky and most people don't know what they are looking at.

"Something that might initially seem unusual could be explained the object may have been mistaken for a shooting star, a bright planet, a star or even a plane."

The research was conducted by Virgin Media to mark a month of science fiction programmes.