COME on, hands up if you’re an alien - it seems you’ve been rumbled.

Apparently, there’s a distinct possibility that beings from outer space have arrived on Earth and are living in our midst.

And before you dismiss the theory out of hand, no, it isn’t another pronouncement from David Icke - remember his claims that evil, blood-drinking, shape shifting, interstellar lizards are among us?

It’s the view of none other than Britain’s first cosmonaut, Dr Helen Sharman, who joined two Soviets on the eight-day Soyuz TM-12 mission to the Mir space station back in May 1991.

Dr Sharman told the Observer Magazine that there is no doubt that extra-terrestrial life exists somewhere in the universe.

She confidently said: “Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it.

“There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of forms of life.

“Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not.

“It’s possible they’re right here right now and we simply can’t see them.”

This is The West Country:

Dr Helen Sharman

Dr Sharman has impeccable credentials, but how seriously should we take her strong hunch?

Down the centuries, millions of people have been taken in by all sorts of wacky ideas.

We had the flat earthers who were convinced the world wasn’t round.

The Egyptians believed cats were gods - something my little moggy would agree with.

Then there are those who believe in ghosts, people who swear they’ve been abducted by strange creatures in UFOs, someone as clever as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle being duped into believing in fairies - and even some cranky football supporters reckoning England are the best football team in the world.

Add to that the plethora of conspiracy theories that have abounded such as the alleged faking of the Moon landing to dismissals of Elvis Presley’s death, and the CIA, the Mafia and Lyndon B. Johnson all being blamed for President Kennedy’s murder.

In recent years with the advent of social media, we’ve been constantly bombarded with fake news, making it hard to know what’s really going on in our world.

It all goes to show that we’re a gullible lot who are susceptible to soaking up false information.

But when someone of Dr Sharman’s standing tells us that aliens do really exist, we have to take it seriously.

Professor Stephen Hawking is no longer with us - or is he?

But as the oracle of all things concerning space, it’s worth considering his views on extra terrestrial life and what it could mean for us humans if it does exist.

Professor Hawking believed that aliens landing on Earth might well be hostile.

He said: “Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they could reach.

“Who knows what the limits would be?”

He added: “Meeting an advanced civilisation could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well.”

This is The West Country:

The late Prof Stephen Hawking with his grandson during a visit to the West Somerset Railway

All of which calls into question the wisdom of NASA’s decision to beam the Beatles song Across the Universe into space in February 2008 in an ‘Is there anybody out there?’ appeal.

If there are intelligent life forms out there and they’re potentially as nasty as Professor Hawking suggests, wouldn’t it be better to try to hide away quietly in our own corner of the universe? The alternative could see us all wiped out.

Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, which aims to ‘explore, understand and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe’, doesn’t agree.

He is of the opinion that interstellar space travel is simply too difficult. And he reckons that if it were possible, then we would already have been invaded.

He told The Guardian: “Any society with the capability to threaten Earth is overwhelmingly likely to already have the kit required to pick up the leakage we’ve been wafting skyward for seven decades.

“And since we’ve been busy for a lifetime filling the seas of space with bottled messages marking our existence and position, it’s a bit silly to fret about new bottles.”

A top British scientist thinks we have nothing to worry about from aliens.

Nick Longrich, a senior lecturer in evolutionary biology at the University of Bath, is convinced the odds are heavily stacked against the existence of aliens.

He wrote in The Conversation: “Are we alone in the universe?

“It comes down to whether intelligence is a probable outcome of natural selection, or an improbable fluke.”

He claims that the coincidences that led to the creation of human life are unlikely to have been repeated elsewhere in the universe.

He added: “Intelligence seems to depend on a chain of improbable events.

“But given the vast number of planets, then like an infinite number of monkeys pounding on an infinite number of typewriters to write Hamlet, it’s bound to evolve somewhere.

“The improbable result was us.”