Barking and Dagenham sightings of Britain’s most venomous spider flood in

The false widow found in Scott Mitchell's bathroom

The false widow found in Scott Mitchell's bathroom - Credit: Archant

Numerous sightings of Britain’s most venomous spider have been reported by borough residents, as it emerges that London may be seeing a major influx of the species.

A number of residents say they have spotted the false widow spider in their home or garden – with two people in Dagenham suspecting they have been bitten by the creatures.

It comes after the Post reported that Bill Held, of Maxey Road, Dagenham, found the spider in his shed, while Scott Mitchell, of Campden Crescent, discovered one in his bathroom.

On the weekend there were reports in the national media that London and surrounding areas have seen a big rise in the species of spider, which is related to the black widow, but not deadly.

A man in Sidcup says his hand swelled up “like a balloon” and turned yellow and black for five weeks after a false widow bite.

No such dramatic tales have been reported in Barking and Dagenham, but Sharyn Pagel-Hill, who lives off Goresbrook Road, Dagenham, said she has woken up three times to find bites which may have come from a black widow.

She added: “[There were] 2 blood spot like marks about 3-5mm apart, large (50p size) hard lump and very itchy.”

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And Post reader Stuart Bowes said he woke up around three days ago to find a “massive lump” on his leg with two red bites.

Another resident, Emma Smith, of Heathway, Dagenham, said her husband was bitten by the arachnid three times a number of years ago, and the family have spotted the spider in their outside toilet on a few occasions more recently.

She said: “As my husband had been bitten we always kill them because we have five children and it will stop them breeding. I’m surprised people have only just begun to notice them!”

Meanwhile, Bill’s partner Jenny Harris wrote on Facebook, that since Bill uncovered the spider in his shed they have seen five more “with different patterns on them and of different sizes”.

Fellow Facebook poster, Vicky Ford, added: “I had one in my kitchen last night. As I turned around to get something to catch it, it was gone!”

Essex-based expert, Peter Harvey, said spider bites are rare but encouraged people not to touch the creatures.