Devon and Cornwall Police has proved the truth is out there after reported UFO sightings in south-west England. But before believers head down to Dartmoor they should note the facts are not always as exciting – or far-fetched – as the type Mulder and Scully chased in The X-Files.

The Torquay and Herald Express reported how after a flood of reported sightings of extraterrestrial activity in skies over West Devon on Tuesday night (20 September), an officer from the force took to Twitter to update residents on the strange lights and flashes.

But, in what will come as a disappointment to conspiracy theorists, the officer named as Resource Deployment Officer Garry shot down the UFO theory and confirmed the lights were caused by a source closer to home and planet Earth.

"I can confirm there are no #UFOs over #Okehampton. @BritishArmy have an exercise ongoing with flares.. Countless 999 calls now... #WordsFail" he tweeted.

Dartmoor is used mainly for training exercises by Royal Marines and other forces based in the south-west including the territorial and reserve forces.

The Ministry of Defence used to record alleged sightings of flying saucers but a hotline was shut down after 50 years in 2009. Between 2000 and 2007 the MoD received an average of 150 reports a year.

The files are stored at the National Archives in Kew and feature correspondence to officials including one in 2008 to the then prime minister Gordon Brown. "Dear Gordon Brown," it says, "Do you believe the British people have the right to know if our world has been contacted by alien civilisations?"