HE’S used to hunting murderers and serial killers – but now one of the county’s top former detectives has turned his hand to hunting for a very different sort of monster.

Former Det Supt Simon Dinsdale – once the head of one of the county’s major investigation teams – claims to have seen the famous Loch Ness monster – not once, but twice.

For decades, people have claimed to have seen the monster in Loch Ness, in the Scottish Highlands.

But Mr Dinsdale – who solved several high-profile murders during his time as a detective – wants to prove that film footage, shot by his dad Tim 50 years ago, really does show the mythical creature exists.

Tim Dinsdale was an aeronautical engineer, but also one of the more famous Nessie hunters.

Simon said: “You should never discount eye-witnesses – after all, I’m an eye-witness myself. More than 1,000 people are recorded as having seen something large in the loch.

“My sightings were one where there were five of us and the other where there were three of us.”

Simon, who returned to the Loch to explore the myth for the first time in 25 years, added: “I can look at all the evidence, and I can tell you, on the balance of probabilities, there is something large and unknown living in this loch.”

Simon will be talking about his experiences on a programme being aired on BBC One’s Inside Out East tonight , at 7.30pm.

During his time as head of the investigation team, Simon was involved in the probe into the murder of missing Basildon mum Nicola Ray, who disappeared from her home in May 2000 and has never been found.

He also led the investigation into the murder of 63-year-old Norah Trott, in Rochford, that went unsolved for 27 years, until 2005.

Simon also travelled to Iraq twice during his successful bid to bring murderer Farik Farukh to justice. Farukh killed his partner, mum-of-two Inga Losiene, 32, in Southend in 2005.

He was also involved in the investigating which brought Suffolk strangler Steve Wright to justice.