A DROITWICH woman who spent a day looking after a Black Widow spider has thanked the butterfly farm which has given it a permanent home.

The extremely venomous spider was discovered living beneath a VW camper van after its owners took it out of storage and in to the Absolute VeeDubs garage in Pershore on August 11.

Mechanics at the garage were washing the van when the deadly spider dropped down from beneath it.

Louise Lench, a web developer from Droitwich, looked after the spider while she tried to find out what to do with it.

"My partner, Jim, owns the garage and he said when the men found it, they didn't quite know what to do," she said.

"It almost got squashed. They decided to find out more about the spider because it was very unusual.

"Jim brought it home to me because I know a bit about spiders — I've always wanted some as pets.

"As soon as I saw it I knew what it was. I got it confirmed and immediately called the RSPCA for help, because not only is the spider venomous but we believed there were 20 or more egg sacks beneath the van. They tried to help but said there wasn't anything they could do, so they advised us to call the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). I really needed someone to come out, because we didn't really want thousands and thousands of Black Widow spiders running around Pershore.

"However, DEFRA wouldn't help us either.

"So after more than six hours of phoning round companies, the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm sent someone out who collected the spider and eggs and have housed the spider for us. We are really grateful to them."

Carl Marshall, curator of insects at the Butterfly Farm, said: "The spider is now living in Arachnoland. They don't tend to live for very long, but we'll house it as long as it lives. The Black Widow originates from North America and we believe the van was imported from California in 2014 but it had been in storage for some time.

"We were happy to help. We would advise people never to touch a Black Widow although they are not aggressive spiders at all, but if sat on or touched they may bite so people should be careful.

"We often get call outs for unusual things like this — last week we had to collect an escaped pet corn snake from someone's garden."

Mr Marshall said he believed the egg sacks were empty.

A DEFRA spokesperson said: “Anyone who needs to report finding black widow spider should contact their local council’s environmental health team and seek medical attention immediately if they are concerned about having been bitten.”

“Incidents like these are very rare as these spiders are unlikely to survive the journey into the UK or to survive in our climate.”

The RSPCA had not commented by the time your Worcester News went to press.