by Ralf Lopio

A GROUP of Russian oligarchs is bidding to buy Gruinard Island off the north west coast of Scotland.

Gruinard is known as Anthrax Island after being used for testing biological weapons during the Second World War. It is uninhabited today due to fears of ongoing contamination.

Little is known about the group of Russian oligarchs bidding to buy the island, except for their second names: Kulagin, Glebov, and Baratynsky.

Kulagin is believed to have made his fortune in the removals business, Glebov in chemicals, and Baratynsky in social media companies.

No clear picture has emerged about why the three Russian tycoons — who are said to be extremely close to Vladimir Putin — wish to buy the island. The group officially put in their bid this morning before noon.

One British source said: “If Gruinard had an active volcano under which they could build a lair, replete with shark tank, lasers and dozens of goons in uniform, then this move would make sense. As Gruinard is basically a contaminated hell-hole where we once bombed sheep to death with bio-weapons in the hope of doing the same to Germans, then I cannot for the life of me understand what these oligarchs would want with the place.”

A Kremlin source said: “Why should a group of shadowy billionaires not buy up your land of Scotch and haggis? To raise questions about this is typical of lick-spittle imperialist lackeys who see conspiracies by Russia at every turn.” When asked how anyone could survive on an island contaminated with anthrax, the source initially said that Russia “had years of experience with this type of thing”, before adding: “You cannot report that. We didn’t say that.” The Kremlin source then said officially: “Russian men are strong like wolves and can survive anywhere. We are not weak little Scots — whose men wear skirts like baby girls.”

Locals in Ullapool, the nearest coastal town to the island, were stunned last night by the news. One woman, who asked not to be named, answered her door in a full hazmat suit. She said that every resident with access to a boat had decided to mount a blockade of Gruinard island in a bid to stop Kulagin, Glebov and Baratynsky arriving on the mainland. “I don’t want to have to spend my entire life walking around in this thing,” she said, her voice muffled by the gas-mask over her face. “You won’t be able to go for a cup of tea anywhere. Does Nicola Sturgeon really expect everyone in Ullapool to pay to get all our messages tested for WMD? Holyrood needs to stump up.”

An expert from the Centre for Expert Studies, Philby Burgess-Maclean, said: "This story could almost be satire, but I am no expert." A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Do we really have to get involved in this? We’d rather not to be honest. Tartan Day is on this week - and we’d prefer if it didn’t go off with a bang.”

A spokesman for President Putin said: “We’d be very happy to offer you an official comment, and would like to send a representative around to your house to speak to you in person. What is your address? What time will you be in? Do you have security cameras?” The Sunday Herald declined the comment.