The Usual Suspects: Anatomy of a Disinformation Campaign in Ufology

by Max Burns

Originally Published in "Notes from the Borderland" in Winter 2003

Related YouTube Video


Also see this posting.


I am a Ufologist, and came to NFB’s attention while the editor was writing ‘At War With The Universe’ (hereafter AWWU) with Steve Booth. Subsequently I wrote to Larry O’Hara from jail just as that exposure of state asset Tim Matthews AKA Timothy Miles Hepple landed on doorsteps late 1999. This was the first time I had any contact with O’Hara, contradicting Hepple’s fabricated story we were both involved in a lunatic smear campaign against him. This is untrue, as covered in AWWU (p. 121-22).

This article is based on the premise the state are Interested in Ufology. In which case they would have people on the inside to gather information on groups and individuals.

WHY would the state be interested in UFO researchers? For three reasons:

Sightings of Flying Triangles, accepted by most within Ufology as a real phenomenon may be military, and anyone looking at this technology almost certainly comes under state scrutiny for obvious reasons.

A tot of researchers stake out military installations in the hope of seeing craft first hand. Any might in principle use the cover of researcher to spy on British and American installations for foreign powers.

Some believe FT’s are extra terrestrial in nature. If so, there must be lots of information being covered up involving the state anyway.

All of the above would evoke interest from the intelligence community. Yet despite forever going on about cover-ups, X-Files conspiracies etc. when evidence of what appears to be state operations against Ufologists and Ufology emerges, Ostrich Syndrome takes over and most simply bury their heads in the sand. Although many have spoken to me off the record about the modus operandi of certain individuals, including those named, few will go on the record. Three factors inhibit Ufologists speaking out publicly: intimidation tactics, ridicule and lie manufacture. Ail three are standard practice in the Intelligence World, and for some in UK Ufology too. Coincidence? Hardly. These facets will be covered in this article as well as some of the people behaving in this manner. Hopefully this will encourage the wall of silence to be breached.

On the night of 24/3/97, witnesses saw a Flying Triangle craft, and, reports persist of a pursuing military jet crashing in the Peak District near Sheffield. Rescue teams were scrambled, but nothing was officially reported as found. That is not the whole story and I have been attempting to draw together diverse, strands and follow up leads in this case since then. My involvement was no mere paper-shuffling exercise: that very night, accompanied by witness Emma Maidenhead, I scoured the Moors for evidence. While our aim was the search for truth, it is my contention, and events from then on seem to show it, other interested parties had different motives. Immediately after that first fateful night, a conscious planned campaign of diversion, smear, sabotage, disinformation character-assassination and entrapment was launched. I was, at first unknowingly, the principal target of what looks like a military operation and it probably was. So extensive, and exemplary, was this operation, it even encompassed fitting me up on a drugs charge, leading to a jail sentence. Would anybody go to such lengths to stifle independent Ufological research? I think they would, and have. Review the evidence below and make up your own mind.

The main instruments used in this operation to cover up the truth about Sheffield 24/3/97 were not formally accredited military personnel, but others whose apparent Independence from the machine I have serious reason to doubt. After reading this piece you’ll understand why. Given the state seeks to intervene in Ufology, the next question is who are the people used to do so from Inside? This article looks at some of the contenders. Now is the time to review the evidence regarding the actions of a few in UK Ufology. These people I call the ‘Usual Suspects’ Andy Roberts David Clarke & Tim Hepple/Matthews plus bit-players like Martin Jeffrey. It is about time they were properly introduced.

Many things were written about me on the internet in magazines and local news papers mainly the Sheffield Star. Sheffield Star propaganda was the work of (now Dr) David Clarke formerly of the Star. Clarke, a prominent sceptic in UK Ufology, is a published author on various UFO related subjects including the 2000 book ‘The UFOs That Never Were’ (hereafter UTNW) co-authored with Jenny Randles & Clarke’s close personal friend of many years Andy Roberts [1]. Clarke has a doctorate in mythology & folklore from Sheffield University, ironically, appropriate to his fabulous writings, though .not perhaps in the way he intended. Roberts, has written and co-written a number of books and articles on UFOs and the paranormal in UFO magazine, Fortean Times and others. The full biographies of Roberts & Clarke (almost) are on their website… . As with agent provocateur and Nazi thug Tim Hepple (now Matthews) previously, the modus operandi of Clarke and Roberts is now subject to scrutiny. Although the main focus of this piece is Roberts & Clarke, Jenny Randles does feature. Unlike Clarke Roberts and Hepple, Randles is a genuine Ufologist, her oeuvre worthy of analysis in a future NFB. Hepple/Matthews is also in the frame for performing crucial tasks in the enterprise. Roberts & Clarke’s admiration for Hepple is best displayed by these Hepple words featuring on their web site:

"You destroy peoples hopes and dreams, attack their beliefs, bring them down and use every low tactic at your disposal" Tim Matthews July 2000 [2].

The facts are presented below in broadly chronological but also thematic order. It is my considered view that from start to finish this is almost a text­book case in the lengths to which spooks will go to discredit any Ufological investigation getting too close to the truth, in which investigators show themselves to be both genuinely independent and persistent. I do not say what happened in my case applies to all UFO investigations: but merely is one containment stratagem available for use in particularly sensitive cases. That said, I trust Ufologists will recognise at least some of the behaviour patterns involved. What follows are eight possible stages in derailing a UFO investigation. It only reached eight because I persisted: and no doubt additional stages will be embarked upon after this article.


Who exactly owned the Flying Triangle sighted near Sheffield (on Howden Moor) in March 1997 is debatable: either UK/US military, alien or a foreign power. Take your pick. Evidence advanced here concerning the usual suspects MO is not dependent on any specific interpretation, but in its own right points to something important happening. As I began to collate evidence, others were also active: trying to cover up such evidence, and muddy the trail.

Within three weeks of my investigation starting, Tim Matthews got in on the (disinformation) act. The now defunct Alien Encounters magazine [3] reported that:

"Houses in South Yorkshire were rattled by an unexplained airborne explosion on the night of March 24th (1997) and witnesses at Marjorie Hill claimed to have seen a UFO hovering over a hill side at the time of the mysterious detonation. RAF Tornadoes were despatched to search for wreckage in case the cause was an aircraft crash, but nothing was found. Rumours quickly filtered out that the explosion was caused by a Black Triangle crashing, but they were quashed by Tim Matthews of LUFOS, who said that nothing had been reported taking off from BAe Warton, Suspected home of the Triangle on the night of the noisy sighting. The explosion was powerful enough to be picked up by Edinburgh University’s seismic unit".

I asked Matthews the source of his information, but got no proper response, just routine abuse [4]. Yet seismic readings were not picked up by Edinburgh University, but three different stations. The 22:06 seismic disturbance was picked up by Haverham park, Holmfirth and Leeds University, all in the Immediate area of the explosions. [5]. It seems Hepple was trying to close the case before any serious investigation got moving.

He was not the only one. Within ten weeks of the incident Clarke (at this time acting as press officer) wrote a 26-page report for BUFORA (British UFO Research Association) putting the case to sleep. According to associate Andy Roberts, Clarke proved the FT to be merely a Bolide meteor or routine military exercise. As far as Clarke Roberts and Dr Jacqueline Mitton of the Royal Astronomical Society were concerned the case was closed. It has now been confirmed by Fylingdales RAF station in Yorkshire there was no space debris in the atmosphere over the north of England on the evening of 24/3/97. Which in itself would have been known almost immediately by the military and Mitton, however this disinformation was propagated unchallenged in Clarke’s local media article and report for BUFORA.


UFOs That Never Were (UTNW) contains an important joint statement that in any investigation "the starting point must be witness testimony, sought out immediately-before the elements of contamination get in the way" (p.10). Too true-the only problem being Roberts, Clarke and their allies are themselves key contamination sources. I am not overstating the case, as you will see. Alien Encounters issue 12 featured a witness report (p.42) from Dan Grayson, I supplied his phone number and those of other witnesses to Martin Jeffrey who claimed to be investigating, the case independently of Clarke, Roberts or myself. A lie. He passed Grayson’s number to Clarke after which his testimony apparently changed. A phenomenon Jeffrey knows all about. Manchester UFO investigator Stephen Mera came across Jeffrey very early on. As he puts it, Jeffrey "told me he was first on the scene". Unless he was out and about around the Peak district by 22.30 on 24/03/97, that claim is untrue. Mera continues "he claimed to have seen a crashed UFO which had apparently turned the grass blue in colour, then suddenly many military personnel turned up and immediately escorted him away from the site, apparently not before Martin took several amazing photographs of the crashed UFO and the blue grass, which he told me he sent to UFO Reality magazine. I then telephoned Jon King of UFO Reality and Jon knew nothing of Martin nor any photos" [6]. Mera was not just wise long after the event, in 1999 he raised these points on UFO Updates [7]. The close connection between Jeffrey and Clarke is indubitable–they co-wrote a report on the Sheffield incident [8]. I had early contact with Jeffrey, as just stated, indeed he sold me a version of the police log, which he has since denied, if Clarke’s real aim was objective UFO research, how come he co-wrote a 1999 report with Jeffrey about Sheffield? The answer is that neither Clarke nor Jeffrey, sadly, is an objective researcher.

After being passed his details by co­-conspirator Martin Jeffrey, Clarke re-interviewed Grayson, claiming Grayson never told me he saw a UFO or Triangle that night, and was now convinced he merely saw the search and rescue helicopter [9]. This is a complete turnaround from what he said In Alien Encounters, before I wrote about this case anywhere. Dan Grayson actually wrote. "Although my sighting was later than everyone else’s, I know what I saw was no plane or helicopter" [10]. After Roberts & Clarke accused me of fabricating Grayson’s testimony, I cross-referenced this and Roberts lamely responded, "witnesses…change their minds" [11]. Certainly, but not proving the un-retracted allegation that I lied about Grayson’s testimony. The main point: why did this witness change his mind?

Roberts & Clarke were now turning up the heat after my article In Alien Encounters issue 13 July 1997. Clarke was informed by a local newsagent about my forthcoming article, and asked her to direct me to the Sheffield Star’s Rotherham office 50 yards away. When I visited, Clarke was rude and demeaning. I asked for comment on my article, he merely said it was all wrong. We agreed to disagree and remained cordial for a while, Clark suggested at that meeting we exchange home phone numbers with a view to sharing information. Looks like that was our first date. I never suspected anything at that point and just thought he was behaving like a spoilt child or maybe having a bad day? I never make snap judgements about anyone, all should be allowed time for you to see them for what they really are.

On a later (March 1998) visit to Clarke’s Rotherham office, I shared further research with him and he offered me a different police log in exchange for the one I had. I agreed. We had a heated debate and Clarke became very agitated and defensive when I stated my evolving view a military jet had crashed that night. After disappearing for a good 15 minutes he returned. This time (having received instructions perhaps?) he was up for a good row, got very angry and kept telling me I was wrong. In the end I left, having decided something very disturbing was going on: the outburst seemed contrived [12]. Clarke then told all and sundry I had become abusive, not the other way round.

Tim Matthews AKA Hepple recorded my June 1999 BUFORA lecture and forwarded the audio to Clarke. A review of my lecture was sent by Clarke to the BUFORA council 09/06/99 and on 11/6/99 Clarke also posted the review to UFO Updates mailing list. He wrote:

"I obtained special permission from the base commander to access the flight log for Coningsby earlier this year. The log clearly shows that four Tornadoes took off and four returned safely to the base at 2125 that night following a routine exercise over the North Sea".

Clarke continues:

"Today I contacted Caroline Hogg, the base Public Relations Officer who deals with all inquiries to Coningsby. Had the base received a letter from one Max Burns asking to access the log, and making a claim about a crashed aircraft? ‘Not to my knowledge’ she said after recovering from laughter. ‘And I deal with all members of the public who contact the base’. In my presence she searched all correspondence logs since 1997 (the base PRO keeps meticulous records of all letters received) and the only person to have contacted the base about the March 24, 1997, incident was surprise, surprise, David Clarke".

This account by Clarke is staggering, and clearly points to lying somewhere along the line. For a start, the base flight log I was shown on my visit to RAF Coningsby 03/09/01 shows only two aircraft taking off. Then there is the fact we are supposed to accept the RAF Coningsby CSO apparently showed Clarke a list of every contact to the base regarding 24/03/97. How exactly could he obtain such co­operation, if he did so?

Clarke’s very public allegation I had never spoken or written to Caroline Hogg the Community Service Officer at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire was also repeated to BUFORA National Council [13]. A bare-faced lie. On my visit to RAF Coningsby 3/9/01 not only did I meet Hogg, following up earlier correspondence and phone calls, she denied ever having spoken to or having any contact with Clarke [14],

Typical of lies about witnesses is Clarke’s interview with RAF Engineer Jonathan Dagenhart. The latter told me in a phone-conversation he freely agreed to be recorded that on the night of 24th March 1997, on Snake Pass on the small viaduct over Ladybower reservoir just after. 11pm the mini bus he was travelling in was flagged down by a man stinking of "aviation fuel". During the, interview Dagenhart repeated the man stunk of aviation, fuel at least 6 times and even said he would put money oh it [15]. Yet Clarke maintains Dagenhart instead told me he reported the Incident to the police next morning after hearing a plane had crashed, and only told them he thought the man was behaving "suspiciously". This is untrue, as the South Yorkshire police incident log shows. Clarke continues: "More than a year later, when contacted by a UFO investigator, he had begun working for the RAF as a jet engineer at RAF Cosford and was able to claim that the ‘diesel’ he smelled that night resembled the aviation fuel he was familiar with at air bases" [16]. Completely different from the audio interview I conducted a week earlier.

Matthew Williams made this observation:

"Another interesting fact is how all Max’s witnesses changed their stories after you and Andy R. got to them. You then made big claims about how you could show that Max Burns had lied about their witness testimonies and that the witnesses were claiming their words had been twisted. However the truth of the situation, as you well know, is that Max Burns played a tape recording of one witness who states that he was happy to allow Max to use his name, details of his statement and claimed that the man he encountered stank of aviation fuel. After you got to the witness the story changes to the witness having not given permission to Max to talk about his case and Max had twisted his words. Your eyes lit up when you tried to use this against Max but sadly you have been put back in your seat because Max then produced the audio taped recording of this man’s voice" [17].

Roy Hale who attended my lecture commented:

"Everyone at the Max Burns Lecture clearly heard Mr Dagenhart express to Max his position and the clarity of his statement. If Clarke & Roberts are stating that Mr Dagenhart did not say the things he did, how do they explain the taped phone call between Max and Mr Dagenhart? Concerning the interview which was given by Mr Dagenhart to Clarke & Roberts were these interviews taped so we can hear their method of questioning? This would be interesting to many researchers simply because they are stating that the witness withdrew/denied what Max played (audio tape) at the lecture" [18].

Rebecca Jackson said regarding Dagenhart:

"I was with Max at the time he spoke to and recorded the Jonathon Dagenhart interview. I know it is a true piece of evidence as I was listening to the conversation. I was also there when a very frightened Mr Dagenhart changed his story after being pressured" [19].

Clarke had been making noises to BUFORA National Council and anyone who would listen that I was using Dagenhart’s testimony without permission, however I had his permission as clearly stated during the interview. This was purely a ruse to stop such MAJOR TESTIMONY being included in my research. After all I was claiming a jet had gone down an hour before Dagenhart encountered the man on the viaduct stinking of aviation fuel. Which as we all know is used in jet aircraft.

STAGE 3: Attacking UFO Research Directly

Clarke and Roberts only quote my early writings on the case, including in their book UTNW. This was deliberately intended to caricature my position, and thus stifle reasoned debate. Not ONCE did Roberts/Clarke contact me to discuss my up to date findings before completing UTNW. A pity, since of the many weapons in their arsenal, the only legitimate one is discussion of my research. Though their treatment of it fell well outside the bounds of accepted discourse.

Clarke stated "the theory that the mystery man soaked in fuel was actually a RAF or NATO pilot clearly stretches credibility to its limit. Nick Pope former head of the MOD department at Whitehall which deals with UFOs… now a successful author of popular books on the subject found this claim particularly hard to swallow. He said ‘I think it’s ridiculous to suggest that this has anything, to do with the RAF. On the basis that a pilot from a downed jet would always stay at the crash site waiting for the inevitable military search and rescue operation’. Pope commented on the sheer implausibility of the claims made by those who believed a jet had crashed. He said, ‘if an RAF aircraft had really crashed what ever the circumstances it would have been virtually impossible to implement a successful cover up’. He went on to .say, ‘There would almost inevitably been a fire and in those circumstances the emergency services and members of the public would have located the crash site very quickly’ [20].

While Nick Pope is no expert on crashes in the Peak District or anywhere else, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) based at Farnborough certainly are. On 11/6/93 a Hawker Hunter jet crashed in the Peak District. The pilot was 46 year old Wallace Cubitt, Clarke referred to this crash within two days of the 1997 incident, using it as evidence to stifle questions about the Sheffield case [21]. Significantly, Clarke fails to mention the 1993 crash site parameters. Given Clarke and co say a jet could not have crashed on 24/3/97 without being found due to the likelihood of widespread wreckage we now look at the AAIB crash report for Cubitt’s jet:

"Impact parameters. The aircraft had crashed some 1,500 feet above mean sea level on a remote area of open moorland, the soft surface of which was formed by a heather covered layer of peat estimated to be up to 50ft in depth, The point of impact had been amongst several natural water drainage gullies. The aircraft had struck the ground in a nose and left wing low altitude both estimated at between 45 and 50 degrees below the horizon. The speed of impact was extremely high estimated at above 450kt. Largely due to this high speed and the soft and deep nature of the surface most of the aircraft wreckage penetrated the peat to a great depth and formed a roughly circular crater some 50ft in diameter. Shortly after the impact this crater filled with water to a depth of approximately 8 feet, the natural water surface being several feet below the undisturbed ground level. Â large quantity of peat material together with some items of wreckage, were ejected from the crater, forming a raised lip around the hole, in addition to being scattered locally in all directions… Recovery of the wreckage was severely hampered by the nature of the surface, the location and access to the site, which was approximately 2.5 miles from the nearest suitable road. After several days, during which the crater was drained as far as practicable, it became apparent no major parts of the aircraft would be accessible without deployment of significant resources. It was thus agreed amongst the authorities involved that the site would be cleared of all visible and accessible items associated with the aircraft and to leave the majority of the wreckage buried" [22].

This case is. relevant because, crucially, it shows a jet could crash and easily not be found, and furthermore could also be concealed from the public. As Clarke included information about the 1993 Cubitt crash in his Sheffield Star piece (26/3/97) he must be fully aware of the crash circumstances. In which case, why be adamant a jet could never crash, and not be found, equally why claim such an event couldn’t be concealed? The circumstances from the 1993 Cubitt Hawker Hunter Jet crash clearly support my findings, or at least the possibility they may be true.

Another area of dispute is conflicting reports about the activities of Mike France’s mountain search and rescue team that March night in 1997. On both Updates mailing list and in UTNW Clarke has maintained there was "a thorough search which was able to rule out any chance of overlooking a crash site".[23]. Yet a thorough search was not conducted. Solid evidence here is search team leader Mike France’s comments to another Sheffield Star reporter Gail Robinson. She wrote "Mountain rescue team leader Mike France says simply: ‘the 40 square miles being searched consists of many valleys and massive boggy areas. It’s very very hard work, very slow going and it could take weeks to completely cover the entire area’" [24]. Contradicting Clarke’s own reported interview with France.


In August 1997, internet smearsheet The Armchair Ufologist hit UK : Ufology like a malodorous parasite. Fronted by Roberts, the whole thing is a dig at anyone in UK Ufology Roberts (or those behind him) thinks should get it. I became very popular among some people after Roberts did his Max Clifford (publicity) thing for me. However, it also (as intended) damaged me with others I didn’t know, This publication’s main, purpose was, to exercise, malign control, over, people. Those who feared the same snide treatment as myself and others targeted in its vicious outpourings fell into line. This has allowed Roberts & Clarke to say pretty much anything about anyone without proper rebuttal. I would not fall into line and this created a problem for International Rescue. Many such as Nick Redfern have chosen the easy option. Fair, enough. Not my choice, ever [25]. Others, such as Harry Harris; Margaret Fry, Miles Johnson and even Nick Pope to some extent, find it prudent to not always speak their mind to Roberts and Clarke

Roberts Clarke & Randles wrote in UTNW- "We do not single out Individuals, or groups for criticism, or infer, that they are universally incompetent" (p, 11). This is simply not true, as you will see by quoted extracts from voluminous Internet postings and other publications Roberts and Clarke are involved in. Indeed, these lofty sentiments only lasted for 30 more pages of that book. On p.41 of UTNW Clarke wrote: "The [Sheffield] case may never have been transformed from a, mundane hunt for a crashed aircraft to a UFO cover up were it not for one person…entirely responsible for the promotion of the myth. (Max Burns)". Thus confirming, from the horse’s mouth how my research was an obstacle to those wanting to kick the Sheffield case into the long grass. Furthermore, if nothing untoward occurred that March night in 1997, why did Clarke complete an in-depth 26 page BUFORA report before anybody else, including me, had written a word on the case, especially as he claimed no UFO activity had occurred?

In terms of my own background, I was 40 in 2002 and prior to imprisonment (on which more below) had a successful career as a DJ. I have personally been involved in opening over £30 million worth of new developments and won a number of leisure industry awards during 18 years in the business.

To fully understand my later legal difficulties, it is necessary to focus on an earlier event, whose significance I did not fully understand at the time. In August 1997 BUFORA held its annual conference, in Sheffield. Clarke & Roberts attended along with Hepple and Mike Wootten. I spoke with them briefly about the Sheffield case and then parted company. That day, and shortly after the conference, Roberts Clarke and company started claiming to anyone who would listen in private pamphlets, email and in person that I had boasted about bribing a witness in the case with cannabis, and all their partners were willing to give statements to that effect. In July 1999 Roberts wrote on UFO Updates "Actually Max we’re stating it, not alleging it. For the simple reason the conversation took place and Max did in fact state clearly that he had bribed a ‘traveller’ (hippy who lives in an old bus for our US readers) with marijuana to get him to relate his UFO sighting" [26]. A year earlier Roberts claimed I had admitted selling a "witness into the case cannabis to get him to tell me his story" [27]. Selling and bribing: two different claims about the same witness-standard Roberts lying. Firstly I neither bribed this witness with cannabis, or ever claimed such. Richard Conway the main conference organiser was supposedly present during the alleged conversation but has confirmed in writing "I never heard Max Burns make any such claims while in the company of Andy Roberts, David Clarke, Tim Matthews or Mike Wootten and their partners at the 1997 BUFORA conference" [28]. Second, I never said this witness saw a UFO. Rather, he told me an RAF friend in Lincolnshire reported they lost a military jet in the Peak District on the night in question despite publicly denying anything happened. He had been told the RAF had found, no wreckage or the plane [29]. At the time, I merely treated this bogus claim by Roberts and Clarke as sour grapes, but was soon to find out different. In retrospect, them spreading such specific drug-related lies about me at this very time was probably not accidental. In other words, knowingly or unknowingly, they were spinning a line of character assassination soon after given practical form by the state’s dirty tricks department. Coincidence? I think not. See if you agree.

In October 1997 while a passenger in a car with two women, Susan Bradley (herself a police drugs target) and Louise Goodison, the car was pulled up by police. Goodison I hardly knew, I was a friend of the other’s boyfriend. Bradley was the object of a regional drug task force police surveillance, code named ‘Operation Morph’. We were all arrested and later charged in connection with drugs. I pleaded not guilty. The day of trial Bradley pleaded guilty to a charge allowing her to go free, and charges against Goodison were dropped. I was then the only person to stand trial, Bradley & Goodison now giving evidence for the crown. After a 7 day trial in September 1999 I was found guilty by a 10-2 majority verdict, and sentenced to 30 months in jail of which I served half. At present I am in the process (with new legal representation) of appealing against this conviction. As the appeal is ongoing I am not in a legal position to make extensive comment, nor would I want to.

Those who know me well are certain I was not and have never been a drug dealer. Some will be undecided, but others in UK Ufology had me tried and guilty before a trial date was even set, indeed (as seen above) before I was even charged. For me it’s simple: I was not guilty, but even if you believe me guilty, I have served my debt to society and should be allowed to carry on with life: including research into UFOs.

Roberts later boasted of illegally recording our September 1998 phone conversations, and playing them to a works colleague, who gave psychological comments based on information Roberts supplied [30]. Obviously such ‘background’ would be defamatory, based, on previous attacks against myself. He used this alleged resulting ‘diagnosis’ as a basis for him, Clarke and (bizarrely) proven psychopath agent Hepple telling people I was a lunatic paranoid. Clarke even referred to me in the same sentence as Osama Bin Laden while trying to prevent me speaking to a BUFORA meeting in December 2001. Roberts utilises questionable (and possibly fabricated, certainly unethical) medical opinion derived from somebody who has never met me. Contrast this with a letter from somebody who has: my family Doctor. "To whom it may concern. This letter is to confirm that the above patient of ours has never had or been treated for any form of Psychiatric illness, either in the past or currently and is receiving no prescribed medication. I hope the above is helpful to you. Yours sincerely Dr K G Bratt." (private letter 29/11/01). It is standard intelligence world practice to label people you are trying to discredit the way the usual suspects do.

In March 1998 I again visited Clarke’s office in Rotherham, I supplied him with my new address and telephone number in Nottingham, so Clarke could post a relevant log. One week later my phone rang and a voice asked if I was Max Burns, then hung up. I felt this was strange and soon found out why. Next morning police arrested me over council tax arrears. I was hauled off before Rotherham magistrates. I now know Clarke supplied my details to Rotherham council. Clarke admitted, in a previous post to UFO Updates mailing list having been contacted by the council, asking about my whereabouts? The game was up when I informed Updates mailing list that the arresting officer had shown me a copy of Clarke’s fax to Rotherham council, then forwarded to the police in West Bridgford where I was then living. The burning question: how would the Council know to ask Clarke about me in the first place?

My arrest on drugs charges was skilfully used even before the 1999 conviction. The prime aims were to stop me speaking about the Sheffield investigation on any public platform, appearing on TV, and prevent magazine/newspaper editors running my story. The intent was to destroy my reputation and thereby investigation into the Sheffield incident. It was a pretext for censorship. Details of the entire court case and trial will be available after I have exhausted all avenues of appeal to try and have my conviction overturned.

Astoundingly, and certainly relevant, Dr Larry O’Hara (NFB editor) tipped me off that Roberts himself has a drugs conviction, and suggested I enter into correspondence to see what Roberts would, and wouldn’t, reveal. After it became clear I was onto it, Roberts eventually admitted this. His response is of interest "if I’m going to be written about, I would at least like the ‘facts’ to be correct". Both Roberts and Clarke can rest secure in the knowledge I have made sure the facts in this article are correct. A procedure they flouted while reporting on my legal situation in general and Sheffield research in particular for their book .’UTNW. Roberts went on to say: "I answered several questions a couple of months ago… but if there is anything else I’d be pleased to give you the facts rather than let speculation creep in" [31]. No doubt Roberts will claim he freely volunteered information I wouldn’t know otherwise. A lie, but predictable

TWENTY-FOUR IN COURT: Drug offences case ‘Tip Of The Iceberg’ Police.

"A Cleckheaton man asked for, and got, a suspended prison sentence when he was one of 24 people facing a combined total of 55 drug offences at an all day special court in Dewsbury on Friday". [Also] "dealt with [was] Andrew Jonathan Roberts aged 20 of Hightown View, Hightown, Liversidge" He and a co-defendant "both pleaded guilty. Roberts admitted being in possession of amphetamine sulphate, unlawfully supplying amphetamine sulphate and being in possession of cannabis resin. The article goes on "The prosecution said Roberts had said ‘It is in everyone’s interest for you to come down here and sort it out’. In a statement Roberts said he had started about four years ago (aged 16). He and Walker had gone to a public house In Bradford where they had bought some from someone called Dave. He normally smoked in the fields near where he lived. He said that they had bought some ‘speed’ ( amphetamine ) in Bradford and taken it to a cottage at Roberttown. I won’t waste my money on ‘speed again’ he had said. Roberts said he was a single man with no previous convictions, and a good home background. He had experimented with the drug. Both his clients were released on bail" [32].

This all led to a three months prison sentence suspended for two years and fines totalling £100 for Roberts [33]. How did this case come to court you might ask, what slip up did ultra-cool air-guitarist Andy Roberts make? The truth is prosaic, and disturbing. "Mr JS Robertson, prosecuting told the court, Roberts had walked into the police station of his own accord saying that it ‘was in everyone’s interest’. Roberts told police officers that he usually went to the pub with Lindsey Howard Walker of Brighouse ( who also appeared before the court in a separate hearing ), and bought the grass from either a youth called Dave or another, said Mr Robertson. ‘GIVEN AWAY’ On one occasion it was alleged that Roberts and Walker had purchased some amphetamine sulphate. It was further alleged this was later given to man called Chris Bland of Hightown. When asked by the police Roberts had admitted that they had all tried it. In mitigation, Mr Simon Alexander, commented that it was not his clients habit to use amphetamine and that when he had tried it, had been revolted by it" [34].

Roberts has stated his 1976 drug conviction is common knowledge, as too continued use of drugs since then [35]. Let’s look further at Roberts’ stance on drugs.

Roberts wrote: "As for my liking for various substances, as you say it’s no secret now or then", going on "where we differ Max is I’m prepared to be totally up front about what I do, I can’t remember if it says so in the articles from 76 but I do recall telling the magistrates that I fully supported an individuals right to use such substances they choose, if and when they want to get high. I have always, whoever asked me, stuck to that belief and will do so. However, I don’t condone dealing because people get ripped off. Simple as that" [36].

My response is as follows. First. I served 15 months jail for something I was not guilty of. Second I spent 12 months of sentence on a drug free wing and signed the relevant documents which gave prison the right to test me for drugs on any occasion day or night. I was tested on at least 30 occasions in 12 months and never ONCE tested positive for any illegal drug. Something which I suspect could not be said for Roberts in the same time frame. Third. since release from jail I have been working in a place which drug-tests all employees and has a zero tolerance policy. I have passed all drug tests there also. So Roberts’ comment "where we differ- Max is that I’m prepared to be totally up front about what I do" is without foundation. While I was initially loath, to mention Roberts’ continued use of drugs’ throughout adult life, it is reasonable to ask how much constant usage has affected his critical faculties with regard to Ufologlcal debate. I don’t care what Roberts does or does, not do, but if he interferes with my research or his judgement comment is necessary.


At the beginning of 1998 I was booked to address BUFORA’s AGM, which took, place 2/6/98. Clarke Roberts and company started a behind the scenes campaign to stop me presenting my findings. Clarke called then BUFORA Chairman Steve Gamble "ordering him I should not be allowed to speak" [37]. ORDERED? With what or on whose authority was Clarke (then merely BUFORA press officer) making demands of BUFORA’s Chairman? A continued flotilla of emails & phone calls to various council members from the. ‘Usual Suspects’ resulted in Gamble calling me at home the night before the lecture at 5.20pm to tell me "the lecture is not going ahead". Judith Jaafar commented recently that Gamble found the incessant intimidatory pressure from Roberts and Clarke over this so distressing that soon after he resigned from BUFORA National Council and to this day is not publicly involved In ‘Ufology on a national level [38]. The prime reason BUFORA cancelled me speaking was Clarke’s lie I did not have Dagenhart’s permission to use his testimony. Because of BUFORA’s strict confidentiality rules, a majority of BUFORA National. Council were swayed by this argument. My audio interview of Dagenhart, reproduced in the ‘Sheffield Incident’ video, shows that once again Clarke had lied.

Roberts wrote about this "Fortunately Max has been prevented from speaking at this event. No doubt allegations of cover-up, censorship and repression will follow. In fact we are all for Max putting his case across in public. We *want* it to happen", Another complete lie. They have always wanted to deny me a public platform at all costs. Roberts continued: "But we want it to be a ‘two-sided’ debate involving the principal investigator, Dave Clarke, so that the audience see, *both* sides of the coin. Unfortunately Max cannot accept this and has since thrown his teddy out of the pram", [39].

In reality Clarke has refused to debate this case with me on a BUFORA platform on at least two -separate occasions and once said he would have to take legal advice before proceeding. Clarke & Roberts even refused Matthew Williams 1998 offer to hold the debate at our expense at a location on their doorstep.

On 7/5/98 I met Phil Taylor News of the World features editor at his London office to talk about my investigation into the Sheffield Incident. I was there from 10.30am. and our discussions were going well. At 1.00pm Clarke called the News of the World and asked for Phil Taylor by name, informing him I am a drug-dealing liar and was making the whole thing up. This before any trial took place. There is also the issue of how Clarke knew who I was with, when, and what for? I booked my appointment to see Taylor on Saturday 5th May, two days, earlier, and told no-one. How did the usual suspects find out? By now I think you’ll only heed one-guess. Roberts was sensitive-on this point, and even asked for evidence Clarke had done this, when-he must surely have known [40]. Unfortunately for him, Clarke had earlier admitted contacting the newspaper, though not how he knew to do so. Clarke wrote, in the end even the News of the World failed to believe Max’s far-fetched tale. He’s being paranoid once again. If he really thinks a News of the World journalist ‘would’ allow me to order him not run a story. They did not run the story because I appraised them of the .FACTS; that’s all, plain and simple" [41]. The News of the World were running the story right up to Friday morning before publication on Sunday. How did Clarke know I was there?

Dave Gilham of the Cornwall UFO group was (unsuccessfully) pressured by Tim Hepple state asset to prevent me speaking there 13/9/01. I was also booked to appear on a March 1998 Central Weekend Television show to debate Ufology At the last minute I was cancelled, though Roberts Clarke and Hepple appeared. Roberts emailed, me to boast the TV company had been informed I was a drug dealer, before any trial-took place. Roberts & the others had supposedly saved me the embarrassment – of being on TV. The same usual suspects who had been telling all and sundry I was a drug dealer now claimed they did it for me. In reality they were desperate to deny me a public platform.

Many In UK Ufology were increasingly concerned about the ‘Ufology Wars’. Immense pressure was applied behind the scenes by Roberts Clarke & Hepple/Matthews to whip into fine groups, Individuals, conference organisers and magazine, editors.

When I was again booked to address BUFORA on 5/6/99 the campaign to get me barred was reactivated by the usual suspects. This time they failed, as new lecture organiser Malcolm Robinson, with BUFORA Council support, was in no mood to be bullied.

Roberts has admitted "it is common knowledge regarding my liking for various substances" [42], Are his co-­authors Jenny Randles-and David Clarke, this last a friend for over 20 years, aware of his recreational activities in this area? A reasonable assumption. I wrote to Jenny Randles asking for her opinion on this and related matters [43]. Randles chose not to reply. This should not be taken as disinterest in the drug convictions, of everybody in Ufology. Randles refused to publicise my December 2001 BUFOR lecture on the BUFORA UFO CALL line. Supposedly, she could not in good conscience support allowing a convicted criminal to speak. Yet she has ho problem writing books with one, work that one out. More dope-cake, Vicar?

Clarke, one of Roberts’ closest friends, is presumably, privy to "common knowledge" about Roberts’ partaking of illegal substances. Nonetheless, he also tried to have my last BUFORA lecture stopped on. the same grounds as Randles. Clarke, has always refused to debate this case and lies about every conversation we have ever had, so no shock there.


A prime example of this is Nick Redfern author of ‘A Covert Agenda’ and other books’ on the subject; He is now very friendly with Roberts subsequent to Roberts viciously criticising his interpretation of the Berwyn Mountains UFO case in the Armchair Ufology. Indeed, Redfern has just co-authored one-book with Roberts for the US market on ‘Strange Secrets: Real Government Files on the Unknown’, and is soon to co-author a book with him called (according to Roberts) ‘The Definitive Guide To The Berwyn UFO Case.

Roberts continually sent me offensive emails until I blocked his address, and then got co-worker Clarke to forward such. I wasn’t interested as everything he had to say was negative. Mark Bell of WUFOG received a private email from Clarke demanding to know why he was supporting my research.

I also received one mail from Tim Matthews AKA Timothy Miles Hepple informing me. "Max you are all on your own with this". This whole thing had a pattern: organised and deliberate, Tim Matthews/Hepple also warned Matthew Williams to ‘stay out of It’. Williams later wrote after watching the situation develop since March 1997:

"You seem incapable of keeping it ‘un-personal’ which is why behind the scenes I have now joined In the little ‘war’ going on. Not to defend the Sheffield case, not even to defend Max Burns, but instead to defend anyone who should come under the massive attacks you and Andy Roberts make against them. If somebody disagrees with you, god help them, that is all I can say. This has been noticed.., by many people, not just myself" [44].

This situation, as intended, made many in UK Ufology fall into line, which assisted Clarke and Roberts quest to control Ufology and the Ufological debate, I was being censored at every turn, misquoted, statements I made were altered and: lies fabricated about me and my research by this small but powerful group of Individuals. Not everybody fell in line. Vice-President of BUFORA Lionel Beer heard my Cornwall lecture of. 13/9/01 and informed Malcolm Robinson he was impressed [45].


My June 1999 lecture was booked that February and on March 20th I received an email from somebody calling themselves BLUE HARE claiming to have explicit details concerning the crash of a Tornado jet in the Peak District 24/3/97. I got several more emails from BLUE. HARE and arrangements were made to meet this individual, who claimed, to be an ex-forces, man present oh 24/3/97 as part of the rapid response team with a brief to secure the area, I discussed this tale with a number of people In. UK Ufology: Malcolm Robinson, Judith Jaafar, Matthew: Williams, Omar Fowler and Richard Conway among others. We all agreed-this was an almost-certain hoax. However one -feature of rigorous research is you fail to follow up all leads you may miss something vital, I decided to attend the arranged rendezvous. BLUE HARE was a no show. Two days before my lecture BLUE HARE again posted me saying "It. is imperative that the truth comes out soon". Obviously an enticement to reveal information supplied by the HARE at my lecture two days later. I did not use it, as this information was not verified, and in my considered view bogus. Tim Matthews/ Hepple turned up at the lecture, he apparently got up at 6.00am to be there, tape recorder In hand waiting for me. to regurgitate BLUE HARE data for posterity. To Hepple’s evident disappointment I did not reveal or refer to any part of the BLUE HARE disinformation. At this stage, all BLUE HARE contacts had been private, nothing was in the-public domain. Within four days of the lecture, after Hepple supplied an audio copy* Clarke’ nonetheless sent a characteristically inaccurate critique of my presentation to BUFORA National Council as already mentioned, also posting a copy to UFO Updates mailing list.

The BLUE HARE game plan was to come forward after I released bogus information as fact and thereby discredit my investigation into the Sheffield case. When that failed, the originators released the disinformation in-such a way as to look like, they had pulled off some sort of intelligence coup. The only thing it actually proved is I verify facts before using them not the impression disinformers sought to convey. The title of the. post announcing BLUE HARE’s debut on the UFO Updates mailing list was outrageous to say the least. ‘Max Burns Hoax Exposed. Considering, my only involvement in this hoax was resisting it, this was rather rich. This was a last-ditch attempt to close, me down and contaminate my research; by confusing FACT with FICTION. The very thing Roberts and Clarke have accused me of throughout my investigation. When the attempted BLUE HARE hoax landed on the UFO Updates mailing list in June 1999 Roberts wrote of it:

"You’ve got to laugh and admire at the gall of whoever was behind-this hoax (which takes several readings before the full ramifications sink in). No doubt there will, now be a flurry of ‘outraged’ decent Ufologists who are appalled at such a hoax [attempted hoax: Max Burns] being perpetrated on the ‘UFO community’. They will be wrong. There is a long tradition of hoaxing within Ufology and associated subjects, and careful hoax experiments can only be helpful" [helpful to Whom? MB) "However unpalatable this may seem it is true. The Burns hoax Is just one in a long line of instructive exercises which we ignore at our peril" Roberts continued. "As the hoaxer’s say; ‘caveat lector’ (surely related to Hannibal Lector judging by the way Burns was chewed up and spat out!)." [46]. 

The phrase- ‘Burns-hoax’ is highly significant, It subtly implies not just that I was an intended (and perhaps successful?) victim, but (subliminally) that I may even have been involved, After all, many in Ufology only scan the titles of internet postings, and sometimes don’t read, never mind exhaustively analyse, the contents. One good- reason why the ‘Usual Suspects’ have got away with what they, have to date. When I publicly revealed the truth of my dealings With BLUE.HARE (AKA Roberts Clarke and troops as we: shall see) [47]-Roberts quickly responded. He wrote "Firstly, most of what Max says is based in some truth; But. note the words ‘most’ and: ‘some’.: Secondly, most of ;what Max says is open-to-interpretation and his particular brand of. paranoid ‘spin doctoring’, To-reply to each and: every tedious; allegation Would be time consuming: and boring! [48] The fact is if my post had been wrong Roberts would have been on It straight away. To feign a brush off rather than provide a proper answer is a standard tactic for the ‘Usual Suspects’.

Blue Hare’s message to UFO Updates was certainly eye-catching. ATTENTION A MESSAGE FROM GENIUS LOKI FOLLOWS

"We are a group of people, active in UFO hoaxing since the mid 80’s, going under the collective name of Genius Loki. We believe if are unable to determine that a case is hoaxed or: not then they should stick to watching sci-fi. Stupidity within Ufology has reached new peaks of intensity during the last two years. The latest example is how the so-called Sheffield Incident/Howden Moors UFO Crash has- been promoted by certain individuals".

I am not now claiming a UFO crashed, but initially (as a genuine researcher not –prejudging he facts) gave credence to this hypothesis, along with other suggestions. Even before the BLUE HARE hoax was perpetrated, I had revised my findings in response to new evidence. At that juncture I thought a military jet had crashed. My updated research was in the public domain, and lecture contents definitely in Clarke/Roberts’ possession courtesy of Tim Matthews/Hepple. The truth of my views or anybody else’s was of no interest to ‘Blue Hare’, except as something to misrepresent.

Though I did not use bogus BLUE HARE information in my research Roberts/Clarke have tried to transform my investigation into a hoax by claiming the entire 24/3/97 events a hoax. BLUE HARE was from start to finish a distraction. As they themselves put it "This is not the place, to go into the specifics of the case. Many will be familiar with it already and it has been widely featured on UFO Updates and UFO Magazine. Several websites have also featured the case in depth. From our point of view it had been satisfactorily solved, But there are those who will not see reason and instead see saucers and conspiracy everywhere".

Comment by Max Burns: I see a conspiracy because Blue Hare was one in pure form "more than three people acting against another". Based on the facts presented thus far. From the dictionary "Conspiracy" is "An agreement to do wrong" "Conspire" is " To unite for an evil or secret purpose ".

BLUE HARE continued:

"As part of our hoaxing experiments we decided to see just how good a researcher Burns and his supporters were and devised a scenario which would test their investigative powers. Burns was, emailed from an anonymous’ source on 20 March 1999. As time went on it became clear that Burns was prepared to manipulate facts to promote his fanciful version of the Sheffield Incident".

Comment by MB: Hoaxers accusing me of manipulating facts -hilarious!

BLUE HARE resumed: –

"According to Dr David Clarke’s investigation of the Howden Moors/Sheffield Incident there was no evidence to indicate either a Tornado had crashed or that a UFO had been Involved. Nor did Dr Clarke find evidence of a cover-up. As far as we could: see, Clarke’s investigation was comprehensive and exhaustive. The case was closed – but NOT apparently for Max Burns" [49].

Although we pretty much knew Roberts Clarke & Matthews/Hepple were behind it hard evidence was needed. In the bar after the first day of the annual Fortean Times UnConvention in London 13-14/4/02 Malcolm Robinson & Judith Jaafar demanded to know why Roberts and Clarke had both tried to plant false information into my research. As Roberts had been drinking he was loose-lipped; and did not deny he and Clarke were behind BLUE HARE. Useful as this admission was, it was still relatively private. The next, day Roberts and Clarke were on the panel. Matthew Williams dropped it on his toes in front of 500 people, asking him to confirm or deny what was admitted the night before. Flustered, Roberts again conceded involvement in the BLUE HARE hoax as another member of the panel, Judith Jaafar, was present the night before when under the influence Roberts let slip his and Dr Clarke’s involvement, Clarke seemed concerned about Roberts’ admission, with good reason. Eight days later (22/4/02) Roberts sent an email to Matthew Williams via Judith Jaafar.

"I’d like to make a clear, unequivocal statement which you can cut out and keep to show whoever you like – but which, I’d like you to always quote in full and not out of context. [Max Burns: Yet again, Roberts demands a hearing in full and not to be misquoted. Courtesies he and his associates deny critics]. "Dr Dave Clarke, myself and others as yet unnamed were behind the Blue Hare hoax (Tim Matthews came along for the ride but wasn’t actually ‘involved’)". * We are also behind several’ other UFO (as yet un-revealed) hoaxes dating back to the late 1980s. These have / are being carried out as controlled experiments to test: – how belief spreads – how easy it is to introduce new motifs into the subject – how competent UFO investigators are – how easily the media can be manipulated Results-of some of these experiments will be made public when the time is right. Others, necessarily so, will remain embedded with the subject" [50].

Matthew Williams wrote via email to Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO Magazine (UK) about this admission by Roberts, and it’s implications for Ufological research [51]. He said:

"I do not agree with Roberts’ assertion that his ‘experiment’ to introduce disinformation [into Ufology] is a valid one. We know media and researchers can sometimes be tooled, by disinformation. Compounding the problems to serious UFO research by introducing such information would surely damage the credibility of Andy Roberts or Dr David Clarke. So I am asking them to reveal which disinformation have they given out in order to clear up false research which may have been accumulated. Also I am going to suggest to them that they be prepared to pay the costs of researchers who have had their time and money wasted".

This letter was NOT reproduced in UFO Magazine although a more recent article by Nick Pope alluded to the admissions without naming Roberts/Clarke [52]. All is not lost for UFO Magazine however. After publication in NFB I will give UFO magazine the chance to reproduce this article in full.

After the Clarke/Roberts admission, of involvement in the BLUE HARE attempted hoax, why just own up to the one? UTNW Chapter 7 analyses the Alex Birch Photograph. In 1962 a supposed UFO photograph was taken by Birch. It was viewed at the time by the MOD. Many considered it the real deal. Towards the end of the last millennium Birch changed his position and now claimed he had ‘hoaxed’ the photo when a small boy. Further down the line Birch reverted back to say it was a real picture and had only claimed to hoax it to make it the entire story leave his life once and for all. Roberts wrote of this "the new claims caused considerable consternation, among UFO researchers, many openly hostile to the case, and felt. that, Alex ‘a self confessed hoaxer’ could not be trusted in the light of his earlier admissions" (UTNW p.134), What Roberts says of Birch applies equally to himself and co-author Dr Clarke at least, though possibly not to Jenny Randles, who seems a genuine Ufologist. I asked Roberts whether Randles was involved in any of his hoaxes, and he replied in the negative. Yet until we know who all his co-hoaxers are, any close associates of Roberts Clarke & Hepple must remain suspect. As Clarke Roberts and company are obviously NOT acting as UFO researchers it is legitimate to ask what their agenda really is, and on whose behalf?

"By their own admission, they have intentionally blurred the line between reality and fantasy asking at various time for both to be accepted as truth (UTNW p. 143). Exactly.

Interestingly, in our email exchanges Roberts, a hoaxer & serial planter of disinformation in Ufology since the late 80’s wanted to ‘confirm the facts’ with me. As Roberts himself said concerning Alex Birch "a self confessed ‘hoaxer’ could not be trusted in the light of his earlier admissions" (UTNW p.134). Ufology must not ignore this situation. Not. only do we want to know what Roberts Clarke & their co-conspirators have been up to, we need to see relevant documented evidence, in the meantime, all we can do is not believe anything they say about Ufology unless corroborated by genuine researchers. When I sought answers from Roberts on these matters, he was typically sneering stating of his hoax ‘experiments’, "now the game is obviously to say we’ve just made it up recently… I have, no intention of releasing information on any past, current or future alleged experiments" [53].This statement even contradicts Roberts previous post a couple of weeks earlier claiming "results of some of these experiments will be made public when the time is right. Others, necessarily so, will remain embedded with the subject" [54]. Such playground insults and evasions are characteristic of Roberts and too secret state ‘Psyop’. His and Clarke’s hoaxes are not, however, characteristic of genuine UFO research.

On the basis of what has been revealed, will Jenny Randles now write no more books; with, Roberts? Will Clarke distance himself and act accordingly? Will Roberts press the button to self-eject from the supposedly ethical Independent UFO Network (IUN)? If not, why not?? Or have you already worked it out…


Clarke, Roberts & Randles wrote ‘in the introduction to ‘The UFOs ‘That Never Were’ "What can we do to reassure the reader that we are not some puppet of the intelligence community" (UTNW p.12). What indeed? BLUE HARE put it thus. "Ufologist Max Burns had become unhealthily obsessed with the Sheffield Incident. Despite having no evidence for these allegations Burns further theorised the crash had been covered up by the Government who had also initiated a ‘dirty tricks campaign’ against Burns and others. To add Idiocy to stupidity Burns also alleged that some British Ufologists were undercover secret agents, acting as part of the cover-up" [55]’. I hope that you, the readers, can now judge these lies against the facts.

A joint Clarke/Roberts letter provides useful insight into their hypocrisy and double-standards. Nick Pope, well known within Ufology as the ex MOD UFO deskman, is author of books on the subject and now works in Whitehall media relations. Clarke and Roberts were not happy with Pope’s review of their book ‘Out of the Shadows’ and in the letters page of August 2002 UFO Magazine wrote.

"If Nick is choosing to invoke OSA (Official Secrets Act) as a reason why Information we have been given is invalid, we would suggest people immediately stop buying his books for the simple reason that by his own argument nothing he says should be taken seriously because he remains bound by the OSA. All his writings and lectures therefore count for nothing and may actually be regarded as disinformation because by his own admission he ‘knows’ yet cannot tell”.

Yet another case of projecting their actions onto others. Sure Nick is, due to his full-time employment, still bound by the OSA, anything in his books has to be cleared by the government first. Yet he is open about that and not ‘Standing In The Shadows’ as Clarke and Roberts are. We have already seen Clarke’s hypocrisy, quoting favourably emails from Pope in ‘UFOs That Never Were’ against my interpretation of the Sheffield case (UTNW p,42). No hint there Pope peddles disinformation.

Consider also these UTNW quotes;

"We are willing to debate any case in this book in a friendly and civilised fashion" (p.13). We know what that means’.’ The Inside back cover describes Dr David Clarke as "a journalist and writer who has established a unique working relationship with the Ministry of Defence on various-investigations". At what- moral’ price? My personal favourite "Why would anyone create such a web of deceit around themselves for no discernible reason?" (p.142). Why indeed?

One answer is that if everybody accuses each other of being state-compromised, those who genuinely are get off the hook. How fortunate for Roberts and Clarke.


Having outlined in sequence key aspects of the modus operandi used by disinformation experts within Ufology, some key points and reflections:

A: Roberts and Clarke, by their own admission, are two members of a group placing disinformation into Ufology since the late 80s, now spanning three decades.

B: They tried to place disinformation into my research to discredit me and my Sheffield investigation.

C: It has been shown they are less than honest.

D: They use Intelligence service style tactics to suppress opinion and control Ufology and the Ufologlcal debate.

E: Roberts is a convicted drug supplier & still uses drugs by his own admission

F: Roberts and Clarke are not genuine Ufologists, even sceptical ones, but something else entirely.

Many issues are raised by the actions of the Roberts/Clarke cabal. One of the most Important relates to their fabricating documents data and incidents. A useful contribution with regard to the hoaxing situation In UK and global Ufology has come from the respected editor of UFO Magazine Brazil, AJ Gevaerd. On UFO Updates he wrote:

"I believe that UFO researchers should have their activities in investigating the phenomena and all set of Its variations, but they should; also be ready and prepared to expose hoaxes and hoaxers as part of such activities. Here in Brazil many researchers have divided their time between UFO investigations and exposing hoaxes and perpetrators. Hoaxes are a cancer In Ufology".

Gevaerd’s conclusion based on his extensive twenty year history within Ufological research should not be taken lightly:

"Some military, government, and religious obscure powers are the only ones to benefit from hoaxes, besides the perpetrators themselves. This is why l believe that hoaxers must be tirelessly exposed. Doesn’t matter what the cost is" [56].

It is hoped that editors of UFO and paranormal magazines will reflect on these wise words, and expose Roberts and Clarke as serial planters of disinformation spanning three decades and will cease to publish articles by them. Hopefully after being apprised of facts in this article editors will act accordingly and not give copy space to The Usual Suspects.

Genuine researchers would not pollute the research field, distort facts, make allegations about people they know to be untrue, and generally cause havoc for legitimate research over many years. I hope you the reader will look at the facts and draw your own conclusions. The key question was put by one Ufologist four years ago, and still stands. "It’s been amazing to see a group of UFO researchers actually ganging up on yourself, for the sole purpose of disproving this case. Many people have asked me the question why a gang of UFO researchers have made it their job to do what the Government do best" [57]. Roberts and Clarke cannot say the data is not factual: they will either say nothing and go quiet for a long time pretty much like their friend Agent Hepple/Tim Matthews did when At War With The Universe came out. Or they will go on the offensive. I say let them explain themselves in full regarding the very disturbing current situation they have helped create in UK Ufology. I know they will try and confuse the issue with as many side questions as they and their allies can manufacture. Nonetheless, I hope this article provides insights into real Ufology and the war currently taking place for Ufology’s soul.

At least I am not standing in the shadows, like the Usual Suspects. But then, I have nothing to hide.

© Max Burns 2003


Joe McGonagle, the website owner of ufology in the UK and close friend of Clarke and Roberts. Attempted to have me removed from the speaker list for the French conference in Châlons -in-Champagne on 15th October 2005.

This has been part of a longstanding campaign against me spanning eight years. Completely covered in my usual suspects article.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: My thanks to: Roy Hale, Steve Mera, Judith Jaafar, Dr Larry O’Hara, Malcolm Robinson, Richard Conway, Omar Fowler, BUFORA, UFO Magazine, Visitations Website, PUFORI website, UFO Updates mailing list, Jeroém Weirda, Crow & Raine, Dave Gilham, Steve Gamble, Glenn Ross BGS, Graham Allen, Allen Penny, Dr KG Bratt, Fylingdales Station Yorkshire, Chris Sanderson, Phil Bradley, Alien Encounters, Caroline Hogg, RAF Coningsby, Miles Johnston, AAIB, CAA, Jimmie Holman, WWW.UFON.ORG. Steve Booth, Mark Jenkins, Rebecca Jackson, Stuart Guthrie, Gavin Parfitt, Ray Buttress, Matthew Williams, Digger, John C. Two special mentions – P Diddy Digit for the graphics, and Captain Danny W for his help on all things good.


1) ‘The UFOs That Never Were’ London House (2000).

29) Max Burns ‘The Sheffield Incident’


30) confirmed by Roberts on UFO Updates 13/7/99.

3) Alien Encounters issue 12 June 1997 p,12

31) email Robertsto.Burns29/7/02′.

4) email Matthews to Burns March 1998.

32) Spenborough Guardian & Herald 27/8/76.

5) Glen Ross British Geographical Survey Annual Report for 1997

33) Spenborough’ Guardian & Herald 24/9/76.

6) email Mera to Burns 11/11/02

34) Spenborough Guardian & Herald 24/9/76.

7) 13/2/99 Mera response to Jeffrey 12/2/99.

35) email Roberts to Burns 30/7/02.

8) UTNW footnote-: 14 p’.224.-

36) email Roberts to Burns 30/7/02

9) David Clarke UFO Updates 7/2/99.

37) personal communication from Steve Gamble].

10) Alien Encounters Issue 12 June 1997 p.42

38) Private post Jaafar to Burns 18/03/03.

11) Andy Roberts UFO Updates 13/7/99.

39) Andy Roberts UFO Updates 2/5/98

12) some aspects of that meeting were mentioned in my UFO Updates piece 13/7/99.

40) Roberts UFO Updates 13/7/99.

13) private email David Clarke to BUFORA council 9/7/99.

41) David Clarke UFO Updates 30/6/98.

14) Interview of Caroline Hogg RAF Coningsby 3/9/01.

42) email Roberts to Burns 30/7/02.

15) Burns phone conversation with J Dagenhart 5/5/98.

43) email Burns to Randles 27/8/02.

16) David Clarke ‘Howden Moors incident’ Pufori website.

44) Matthew Williams UFO Updates 28/6/99.

17) UFO Updates 28/6/99

45) email circulated by Malcolm Robinson 8/11/01.

18) Roy Hale 2/7/99 UFO Updates

46) Andy Roberts UFO Updates 21/6/99.

19) Rebecca Jackson UFO Updates 5/7/99

47) UFO Updates 10/7/99

20) ‘UTNW p.42

48) Andy Roberts UFO Updates 13/7/99

21) Sheffield Star26/3/97

49) BLUE HARE :UFO Updates 20/6/99

22)AAIB bulletin 10/93 (Civil Aviation Authority).

50) Private post Roberts To Matthew. Williams 22/4/02

23) UTNWp.37.

51) 23/4/02 Graham Birdsal passed away, on. 19th, September 2003

24) Sheffield Star 25/3/97.

52) UFO Magazine: November/December2002.

25) The Armchair Ufologist (Magonia website).

53) email Roberts to Burns 6/5/02.

26) UFO Updates 13/7/99.

54) Private-post Roberts to Matthew. Williams. 22/4/02.

27) UFO Updates 27/6/98.

55) BLUE HARE UFO Updates 20/6/99

28) private letter to author September 2002.

56) AJ Gevaerd UFO Updates 7/5/02.


57) Roy Hale UFO Updates 14/2/99.


Also see:  The Sheffield/Howden Moor UFO Incident – 1997

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