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Stories of alien abductions peaked in the Sixties and Seventies, but one case that predates them is said to have taken place in the North-East. Gavin Havery reports.

It is a sunny spring day in 1940. Soldiers are marching south along Saltwell Road, in Gateshead, towards Low Fell. Nearby, five-year-old Robert Hall is playing with his friends in the maze of red brick Tyneside terraces, not far from the train tracks.

"They weren’t bloody green, they were grey. I will take it to my grave."

Robert Hall

Earlier in the day, he had seen something whizzing about in the sky and, after he tired of playing with his friends, he decided to go to his Hedley Street home around the corner.

Robert, a retired window cleaner, says he was confronted by an aircraft the like of which he had never seen before. He described it as “a big egg-shaped thing surround by bright light”.

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