False widows' unlikely home - Grays police station

Thurrock Gazette: The false widow spider The false widow spider

THE UK’S most venomous spider has arrived in Grays – the town’s police station to be precise.

The false widow has been terrorising arachnophobes since it sprang to prominence in the country this year and now the spider has braved the police station and set up home.

It is believed more than 20 of the species were spotted in the building on Monday evening, although they have since been removed by pest control experts.

Chief Insp Ben Hodder, Thurrock district commander, said: “I am not a spider expert but the people of Grays can rest assured this is not affecting operations.

“The spiders have been removed and we move on as normal.

“I believe the spiders are common in the UK and the females will only bite if they feel threatened. I don’t think they will drop down and bite you as you work.”

This is the first time the creepy-crawlies have been reported in Thurrock, but they are not as dangerous as their cousin, the black widow.

They have a brown bulbous abdomen with cream coloured markings, in the shape of a skull.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “A number of spiders, believed to be false widow spiders, were found at Grays police station by staff last night.

“The majority of these have been removed and it had no impact on operational policing. The spider situation is being monitored but the crews on duty report no more arachnids at the moment.

“The odds of the eight-legged menace being locked up is slim but the people of Thurrock should be aware it has a dangerous bite in extreme cases and remove them from the house if discovered.”

One of the most severe cases of a spider bite happened in Chelmsford, where Ricki Whitmore was bitten while renovating at a school.

His leg almost had to be amputated and the venom destroyed a lot of muscle in his thigh.

It is thought there are 10 million false widows living in the UK and although no-one has died of a bite, they could prove fatal if the victim is allergic to their venom.

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