AN ORPINGTON woman got the shock of her life when she discovered a deadly spider on the floor of a local off licence.

Shelly Albrow was sweeping in the back office of the Wine Mill in Carlton Parade, Orpington, on August 28, when she moved a wine box to one side.

The 43-year-old was confronted with what she now believes was the UK's most venomous spider, the false widow.

Miss Albrow said: "It was big and ugly. It had long legs and a long body which was a bit fat the end.

"After I'd moved the box I jumped back, but it just stayed there.

"I don't like spiders anyway so I really didn't like this one.

"I thought 'eugh' and quickly walked away.

"I didn't stay in the office for long afterwards."

Despite her fear Miss Albrow, of Heath Close, Orpington, grabbed the below photograph before showing it to her friends.

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She said: "When I posted a picture on Facebook, my friends said it could be a false widow spider.

"The manageress found the spider a couple of days later and killed it.

"She found another one as well so there must have been two in there."

Miss Albrow, who works part time at the off licence while running an oven cleaning company, Shelly's Ovens, added the experience has haunted her ever since.

She said: "It has definitely made me think about them, I keep looking out on the floor and seeing if I can see anything.

"Hopefully they'll go away and hibernate now it's getting colder - or go away and have babies - that's a scary thought!"

The false widow

The false widow spider first came to the UK in crates of fruit from the Canary Islands more than 100 years ago and the spiders began to settle in Devon. Due to climatic changes, the population has started spreading across the south-east.

London Wildlife Trust conservation ecologist Tony Wileman said: "Reports of false widow spider bites have included symptoms like chest pains and a swelling and tingling of the bite area. If bitten, visit A&E. Do not call 999. Ideally, the spider should be caught in a jar so it can be identified."

Natural History Museum spider expert Stuart Hine said: "It is spider season.

When it is hot and humid, we leave our doors and windows open, and that allows the spiders in."