Nottingham

Snake sanctuary owner Luke Yeomans dies from cobra bite

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Media captionBBC's Angelina Socci: "It is believed Luke Yeomans suffered a heart attack after being bitten by one of his own snakes"

The owner of a Nottinghamshire snake sanctuary has died after apparently being bitten by one of his own animals.

Luke Yeomans, 47, was due to open the King Cobra Sanctuary, in Eastwood, to the public this weekend.

Police confirmed they were called to a property in Brookhill Leys Road, near Eastwood, where Mr Yeomans had suffered a suspected heart attack.

Officers confirmed the snake had been contained and there was no danger to the public.

Depleted habitat

It was also confirmed the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The RSPCA, Health and Safety Executive and Broxtowe Borough Council have been informed of the incident.

Nottinghamshire Police said an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death was under way.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Mr Yeomans said he had started the sanctuary in 2008, in reaction to the depletion of the snake's natural habitat in the forests of south-east Asia and India.

He said he had always been obsessed with snakes, catching his first adder at the age of seven and sharing his bedroom with a collection of gaboon vipers and Indian cobras in his teens.

At the age of 16 he opened his first pet shop, specialising in snakes and other reptiles and two years on he started to breed his own.

Mr Yeomans compared his passion for snakes with other people's obsessions with fast cars.

"People do say that I am mad but I say it's better than people saying you're bad. I think everything I am doing is good," he said.

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