Venomous spiders found in Swindon family's home

media captionThe spider is not deadly but can deliver a venomous bite

A Swindon man had a shock when he discovered a nest of 60 venomous spiders while clearing out a kitchen cupboard.

Father-of-one Ashley Murtough, 26, and his partner Carla Ellis found the false widow spiders, which are relatives of the black widow, in their Penhill home.

The spider is not deadly but can deliver a venomous bite.

Mr Murtough said one bit his mother on her finger which quickly swelled up and filled with pus.

He said: "She had to go and have antibiotics and you could start to see the venom travelling up her veins.

"I looked on Google and read stories where people who are allergic to them have had to have a limb removed.

"I was more concerned because we've got a nine-week old baby in the flat and her immune system isn't running properly yet."

Mr Murtough said he contacted Swindon Borough Council's pest control department but was told it did not cover spiders.

He paid for a private firm arranged by the local authority to remove them.

image captionMr Murtough's mother, Angela Boyd, received a bite on her finger which swelled up

Mr Murtough described the situation as "scary" and said people needed to be aware of the dangers of the spiders, especially if they have children.

The false widow spider (steatoda nobilis) can be found in most parts of the UK.

Its typical habitat is outdoors but nests can sometimes be found in homes.

The species is thought to have originated in the Canary Islands and was first recorded in the UK in 1879.

Ray Gabriel, of the Oxford Museum of Natural History, said the false widow is a very common spider and there have never been any fatalities from its bite.

He said: "If you consider we've been living alongside these spiders for thousands of years, the amount of bites is actually negligible."

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