MUCH Birch residents have issued a warning after spotting a false black widow spider.

Ellen Norris and Cai Broom sent in this photo of the spider they found in the South Herefordshire village.

The false black widow spider is cited as Britain's most venomous spider, but being bitten by one is not very common.

The spider has distinctive cream markings on its bulbous body and is brown with reddish-orangey legs.

Ellen said: "Don't kill them, catch them in a glass and place far away from the property."

After reading the article, Rich Hadley, got in touch with the Hereford Times.

He was a former arachnophobe and has spent the last few years re-educating himself by learning about spiders.

He said: “The picture shows a steatoda grossa (though it could be a steatoda nobilis). They are known as a family as false widow spiders, not false black widows.

“All spiders are venomous, and steatodas have a relatively potent venom which would feel, at worst, like a wasp sting if it bit you.

“No UK spider is aggressive, and you would have to actively squeeze it, or crush it against your skin for it to bite.

“They pose zero danger to humans but are fearsome bug-eaters and maintain a healthy environment for people.”

He said the steatoda grossa is one of Britain’s most handsome spiders and they mainly live outside in sheds and outhouses.

Rich said he has a colony of steatodas in his shed and said they are incredibly docile or shy.

He added: “The steatoda grossa is a native species, and has been living happily alongside humans in their sheds, porches, garages and homes forever, performing a valuable ecological service since before we came along.”

Rich said if there is anyone keen to overcome their spider fears or learn more about spiders they should go to the Facebook Group 'British Spider Identification Group'.