The Loch Ness Monster could have faced a nasty fate and sparked tensions between England and Scotland if anyone could actually find it, newly released secret files have revealed.
In 1934, one year after the first sightings of the monster, both the Natural History Museum and the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh desperately wanted to get hold of the creature - dead or alive.
But Scottish nationalists, it has been claimed, were fiercely protective of the non-existent creature, and warned the English to back off in their hunt for Nessie.
The iconic picture of 'Nessie'
Previously unpublished documents reveal that members of the iconic London museum allegedly plotted to hunt and kill the elusive mythical creature and display its carcass in the capital for all to see.
The ﬁles reportedly even claim that the Duke of Edinburgh suggested calling in the Royal Navy to search for Nessie.
This shot apparently shows a solid black object moving swiftly up Loch Ness - where the famed monster is said to dwell
A letter, apparently from a Natural History Museum employee, suggested the museum turned to bounty hunters to try and find the Scottish creature in the 1930s.
“Should you ever come within range of the ‘monster’ I hope you will not be deterred by humanitarian considerations from shooting him on the spot and sending the carcass to us in cold storage, carriage forward," it apparently stated.
Short of this, it added, "a flipper, a jaw or a tooth would be very welcome.”
But Scotland was not willing to let Nessie go, author David Clarke explained.
A picture taken of Loch Ness in November last year
The sinister plot has been uncovered in his new book, Britain's X-traordinary Files, which claims that "many influential people – including MPs and famous naturalists," believe in the monster.
“During the 1930s, the monster became an important symbol for Scottish Nationalists who wanted the police to protect the creature from big game hunters," he added.
“Nessie had become a Scottish icon – a symbol of national identity. There was genuine outrage at the possibility that the corpse of the monster might be taken for display in London.”
At the time, his books claims, the Royal Scottish Museum defensively wrote to the then Scottish Secretary, Sir Godfrey Collins, claiming the Loch Ness monster belonged to Scotland and called dibs on its dead body.
“The museum urges strongly that the RSM have the reversionary rights to the ‘monster’ if and when its corpse should become available,” it states.
“We think the monster should not be allowed to find its last resting place in England. Such a fate would surely outrage Scottish nationalism which at the moment is thriving greatly under the monster’s beneficent influence.”