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Pic: Bonhams/BNPS

An explosive dummy rat.

An incredibly rare exploding rat that was used by Allied spies in a bizarre bid to destroy German factories in the war has been unearthed.

British scientists stuffed dozens of dead rats with explosives, detonators and fuses to act as a disguised bomb.

The idea was to get French Resistance fighters and Special Operations Executive agents to infiltrate German armament factories and leave the dead rodents in or around the boiler rooms so that they would be found and thrown into the furnace.

Now an incredibly rare surviving example has emerged for sale at Bonhams for the first time along with a number of other hidden weapons and maps disguised as domestic items used by secret agents in the Second World War.