A GLASGOW-based illustrator has revealed the truth about how the town of Sedgley found itself in the spotlight as rumours of alien abductions flew across social media and made the pages of the national press.

National newspapers The Daily Star and The Sun went to town reporting that a sign had been discovered in woods in the Sedgley area of Dudley - which read "3 alien abductions in one week!! When are the council going to do something?" - publishing stories suggesting the area had become a hot bed of "alien activity within the UK'.

But it quickly became apparent there had been some kind of mix up and Dudley Council chiefs issued a statement saying that after making checks they were "confident" the sign was not in the Dudley borough, with a spokesman for the authority adding: "We think there may be some confusion between the borough town of Sedgley and Sedgley Woods, in Philadelphia.”

Now though, an illustrator based in Glasgow has revealed the out of this world story took off after he tweeted an image of the sign suggesting alien activity and jokingly alluded to it having appeared in Sedgley.

Ash Loydon has told how he found the picture on an image board while searching for forest reference pics and he thought he'd share it on Twitter, adding that he thought it would be funny to mention Sedgley - his former home town.

He told the News: "I thought it would give people a giggle, never realised it'd go viral!"

In a blog post confessing all, he told how he "thought nothing else of it" initially and he "got back to tweeting about bad movies and the like" but then things got stranger.

He said: "First there were the emails from various newspapers followed by even more hits which meant I had to turn the notifications off as my phone was shaking."

Then a friend sent him a copy of a full page article spread featured in The Daily Star with the headline: 'Why are aliens snatching the good people of Dudley'.

The story also turned up in The Sun and on local news websites at which point he decided it was time to confess and say: "I'm sorry to say it's not real."

He said it was fascinating how it had resonated with people and he added: "Reading the replies to various postings it's taken in everything from a sheer boredom with lockdown, to Priti Patel's immigration policy to the distance to the local (Stourbridge) tip since the Dudley one has closed via the 'hidden' meaning behind the red 'to'...plus everyone thinks in some way that their hometown is a wee bit odd at times. Oh yes, and the folk who actually want it to be real."

He said he had pondered whether to pretend it had been a planned social experiment or type of art performance thing but he added: "I'm just gonna be honest and say that I just thought it was fairly funny. So, to everyone who had a giggle at it - you're welcome.

"I'm sure the truth is - still - out there."

To read the full blog post go to https://autastical.blogspot.com/2021/06/the-truth-is-out-there.html.