Type=image;ImageID=2167;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Zee Russell and Peter Littler in Peascroft Wood;TitleClass=strong;
Type=image;ImageID=2168;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=The 4ft corn snake tracked down by Neighbourhood Wardens;TitleClass=strong;
A four foot long surprise, to be precise.
Neighbourhood Wardens Zee Russell and Peter Littler had been called by a concerned resident who thought he'd spotted a snake on the loose in Peascroft Wood, Bilston.
Armed with gloves, litter picks and a plastic box, Zee and Peter ventured into the woods - and sure enough they spotted the escaped serpent.
Zee said: "When we got the call we didn't know whether it had been a genuine sighting or not - but it came from a trusted source so we decided we should have a look.
"Pete and I immediately informed the RSPCA and headed straight into Peascroft Wood. The school day was about to end and we were concerned about what could happen if any pupils walking through the woods approached the snake, so time was of the essence.
"We really weren't expecting to find anything - but to our surprise there it was. We tried to contain the snake while we waited for the RSPCA officer to arrive and then helped him get it into the box so it could be removed safely - though not before it had given him a bite or two.
"We were told it was a corn snake which fortunately isn't venomous, and was probably a pet which had escaped from a nearby home."
Zee, who has been a neighbourhood warden for the last 13 years, added: "We normally deal with environmental issues or anti social behaviour or offer help and support to vulnerable people - this is the first time we've ever come across something as strange as a snake in Bilston."
Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: "I'd like to thank Zee and Pete for their bravery in dealing with this slippery customer.
"This just goes to show how versatile the role of our neighbourhood wardens is - one minute they are reporting fly tipping and the next they are on the trail of an escaped snake."
- released: Monday 23 September, 2013