Snake slithers in to shop
Alex Shuttleworth with the snake which spent a night at the Portcullis pub after sneaking into a Staple Hill shop
A PYTHON which escaped from a Staple Hill flat caused a stir when it curled up for warmth next to a shop's fridge.
The young snake turned up at the Traditional Taste Deli Shop in Fountain Square, giving the shop's owners a shock when it was spotted between electrical cables.
After the shop was cleared of staff and customers, owner Andrea Axint asked fellow members of a traders' WhatsApp group for help.
the landlady of High Street pub the Portcullis, Alex Shuttleworth, her husband Wayne and son-in-law Luke Owen-Brown stepped in to help. Alex said: "We've all previously kept snakes, so we rescued it."
An appeal for the owner to come forward was made via the Staple Hill & Mangotsfield residents Facebook page and Alex, Wayne and Luke kept the snake in a big plastic box on top of the pub's bottle washer to keep it warm, before going out to get a vivarium.
Alex said: "It was very well-fed, healthy and a very good-looking snake, so it was well looked-after.
"We wanted to make sure it was safe, as it was obviously someone's pet."
Alex said the python was about 4ft long and she thinks it was probably about a year old.
The snake was collected by the RSPCA the following day and the owner then contacted the charity to claim it.
He later visited both the deli and the pub to offer apologies and thanks.
Alex said: "A couple of days later I had a gentleman knock on the door and thank us sincerely and I said he was more than welcome."