Source: Lancashire Evening Post
RED ALERT: Poisonous spiders like these redbacks have been found in Lancashire
Published on Fri Jun 25 09:48:24 BST 2010
Extermination experts are standing guard at a Lancashire aerodrome after deadly Australian spiders were discovered. Up to five redback spiders and eggs were found by workers in transportation crates at BAE Systems, Warton. Rentokil Pest Control was called in and its staff will remain on site until the all-clear is given. Shocked BAE workers raised the alarm and the area was sealed to prevent the creatures scuttling away. Chiefs at the site, where Eurofighter jets are built, do not believe any of the spiders have left the immediate area. A spokesman for BAE said: “I can confirm that we have found a small number of redback spiders that were discovered in transportation crates that were returned from Australia. “We contacted the appropriate authorities and have engaged a firm of pest control experts. “They have been carrying out inspections and treatment.” The workers immediately recognised the potentially deadly creatures thanks to training given to them prior to work trips to Australia to carry out testing. The spokesman said: “We called Rentokil and they inspected the areas where they had been found and laid down insect detection. “They cordoned off the particular areas so they couldn’t move.” The BAE spokesman rubbished claims that several of the spiders fled to nearby fields, sparking fears they could invade the UK, as they tend to prefer to stay in one place, close to their web and eggs. He said: “That’s not in their nature. “We have no evidence of them moving anywhere apart from where they were found. “Rentokil is carrying out regular inspections.” He said that no-one had been bitten by the spiders, but they had been in touch with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the local authority for advice. An investigation has now been launched into how the spiders ended up in Lancashire on Friday, from 10,000 miles away. The spokesman added: “The transportation crates are fumigated before they are packed and they are then loaded into container crates. “We believe they have got inside the container crates and attached themselves to the outside.” Thousands of people are bitten by redbacks in Australia each year and 15 people have been killed. They are considered to be one of the country’s most dangerous spiders.