Bjarne Sjöstrand's image of a long thin thing has won the Nessie prize Google

A mysterious image purporting to show the Loch Ness monster has scooped a photography prize for a man who has never even visited the famous lake in Scotland.

Eagle-eyed Swede Bjarne Sjöstrand, 52, noticed a thin shape in Loch Ness while browsing Google Earth. He made a screen-grab of the image and sent it off to a local newspaper in Inverness which runs an annual competition for the best photo of Nessie.

Sjöstrand's photo so impressed judges that it was awarded the £2,000 top prize - all without him having to leave the house.

"I am very interested in anything regarding Nessie and the history of Loch Ness," said Sjöstrand.

"The reason I found this image on Google Earth was that I was sitting one night at home reading about Nessie and Loch Ness on the internet and thought I would check to see if I could see something from above - and that proved to turn out well. I have never been to Scotland but my hopes are that one day I will visit Loch Ness."

Nessie-ologists have called for more research to be carried on Sjöstrand's photograph and others sent in to the competition.