The Sun today issued an apology that combines aliens, Scientology and British tabloid wit to deliver a classic of the genre:

In an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated “two flat silver discs” were seen “above the Church of Scientology HQ”.

Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.

As BBC News social media editor Chris Hamilton told me via Twitter, the apology is "causing quite a stir over here."

BuzzFeed UK and ITV News have both picked up the apology. It's also of course sparked discussion on Twitter, and the paper's tweet linking to the piece is generating retweets:

But not all were amused. The original story, dubbed an "exclusive," was relatively straightforward — for a tabloid account of UFOs.

My guess is Scientologists were not pleased with a photo illustration featuring Tom Cruise that accompanied the text:

In true tabloid fashion, The Sun used the contact from Scientology's lawyers as inspiration to get in yet another dig.

Here's the apology as it appeared in the paper: