This is the moment a BBC film crew were held by security teams at the notoriously secretive Area 51 – where conspiracy theorists believe the American government is hiding a flying saucer.
Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell and UFO expert Darren Perks sneaked past the border at the site – and were forced to lie on the ground at gunpoint for three hours while the FBI checked their credentials.
It is the same ‘documentary’ team that caused outrage in Britain last week when they suggested that the 7/7 London bombings were part of a government conspiracy to boost support for the Iraq war.
The ‘UFO: Conspiracy Road Trip’ documentary, airing next Monday, will show how the BBC film crew were arrested at gunpoint.
They were forced to lie on the ground for three hours as guards surrounded them armed with M16 assault rifles.
The crew, 12 people in total, were investigating Area 51 in Nevada – where the U.S. military allegedly hold the bodies of aliens and the remnants of ships which crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
As they crossed the border, military officers arrested them, confiscating their phones, wallets and identification.
Darren told the Mail Online: ‘Basically the concept of the trip was to tour across California, Arizona and Nevada with comedian presenter Andrew Maxwell and four people who had an interest in the UFO phenomena.
‘We went to Area 51 in Nevada firstly because it’s related to the UFO phenomena and secondly so we could do a night time sky watch to see if we could spot anything unusual.
‘On May 14 we arrived there at approximately 5pm.’
Getting ready to cross: The team of 12 hesitate at the gates – and then decide to cross over
All quiet… The team were able to hang around on the border for 30 minutes without interruption
‘We drove to the nearby township of Rachel which is the closet public residency to Area 51 base and drove down a dirt road to the ‘Back Gate’ of Area 51 officially known as ‘Rachel Gate NT TR Boundary North’.
‘We stopped the tour bus approx 50 metres from the restricted area barriers and started to film.
‘There was no one around, no guards, no vehicles – nothing.
‘We filmed for approximately 30 minutes and tried to call the guards but there was no one there and no sign of them.
‘So we all decided to walk past the barriers onto the restricted area past the security huts and basically onto Area 51. Nothing happened….’
Taken within the base: The team managed a few images before they were captured, showing some of the out-houses of the base
The back gate of Area 51: The team risked six months in jail by entering
He continued: ‘We filmed again for another 30 minutes and even messed around doing a silly dance, but still no guards.
‘Then one of the other stars of the trip pointed out that on looking through one of the security hut windows, she could see the guards all sitting down eating dinner and watching the basketball game on TV. They did nothing.
‘So after a few more minutes and a few more picture taking and filming, one of the crew decided to speak to the guards and knocked on their hut door. All hell broke loose.’
‘The guards rushed out with their weapons and forced us all to lay face down at gunpoint in the tarmac.
‘We were all searched, had our phones, wallets and IDs taken and the film equipment taken. This was at approx 6:15pm.
‘For three hours we lay face down until the Lincoln County Sheriffs arrived on scene.
‘Things then eased off a bit and we were all then taken one by one off the restricted area to the sheriffs who issued us with a ticket and grilled us about what we were doing. We all got fined £375 each.
‘We were told that this incident was so serious that Washington had to call London to advise that 12 ‘Brits’ had just breached security at America’s most top-secret military base and that we all were at one point going to jail for six months.
‘Luckily whoever it was in Washington was kind enough to just fine us.’
Strange lights in the sky: It took three hours until the team could resume filming again (…and the strange light is just a searchlight!)
The team spent three hours lying on the ground while their identities were checked – then Darren was allowed back to his car, where he took more sneaky images
Written order: This warning was given to the team as they left
He continued: ‘As time went on into the evening at approximately 11pm we were allowed to stand around together while things were signed off to let us go.
‘At this point I managed to talk to the guards a bit and one told me how they could ‘make you disappear and your body will never be found’.
UFO expert: Darren Perks is a believer that Earth has visitors
‘He also pointed out that an Apache attack helicopter had been scrambled and had been monitoring us from two miles away and that over 20 military guards had driven up from the actual base to deal with the incident. There were quite a few of them there with guns!
‘One guard I quizzed let slip that there are sensors in the ground that can detect approaching vehicles and walkers up in the nearby mountains, so they know if people are getting too close as they cannot put fences up because the area is so big.
‘Then at about 11:30pm we were allowed to leave on the bus and we went back to our hotel at the nearby town of Alamo Nevada.
‘Because the film equipment had been taken by the FBI we had to wait to get new kit from Vegas so we had a day of rest but we were followed everywhere by unmarked Government vehicles.
‘They stuck out like a sore thumb to me. It was myself that pointed this out to the others otherwise they would not have been aware of being followed.
‘The following night I conducted a sky watch at the famous ‘mailbox’ which is really close to the Area 51 boundary and base, to see if we could see anything unusual or UFOs.
‘I used a night vision device from a company called Scott Country International and we were able to view the training area and nearby mountains.
‘It was probably the most messed-up day of my life so far – but I don’t regret it at all.’
The infamous white letter-box: This signpost is often listed on visitor guides as a sign that you are within 20 miles of the infamous base
The road leading past the base became known – colloquially and then formally – as the Extraterrestrial Highway: Darren Perks is pictured at the site