The London Underground has seen a multitude of passengers in its more than 150-year history – but a scorpion hasn't been among them, until now that is.
Tube travellers were left shocked after a potentially dangerous scorpion was found clinging to a man’s bag at Victoria Underground station in central London.
The man screamed when he caught sight of the arachnid, but staff were quickly on hand after hearing the commotion, British Transport Police (BTP) said.
London Underground workers managed to capture the scorpion and placed it in a plastic lunchbox, which they pierced with airholes while they waited for police to arrive.
Specialist wildlife crime officers from BTP went to the station to remove the creature, which had been put on a shelf in the station manager's office.
PC Mike Charnick, who dealt with the incident, said: “There is a surprisingly wide range of wildlife on and around the railway network but this is the first time I've come across a scorpion.
"Station staff did a great job containing the animal and keeping it safe until we arrived.
“I contacted London Zoo and made arrangements to take the animal there to be assessed.”
After the creature had been safely housed, keepers specialising in invertebrates contacted experts at the Natural History Museum, who identified the scorpion as a Centruroides - a potentially dangerous species - which may have come from the Caribbean.
Dave Clarke, bugs team leader at ZSL London Zoo, said: “It is bizarre that this species was found in somewhere like Victoria station. We have been keeping the arachnid safely and securely whilst establishing an exact identification of the creature.
"The scorpion really is a beautiful animal and it's a shame that it has been exposed to such a stressful situation."
The passenger who discovered the scorpion told staff he had been sitting in a park all day and had not been abroad recently.
He did not leave a name or any contact details so officers have been unable to work out where he picked it up.
No passengers were at risk during the incident, which happened in the evening of Sunday 6 April, BTP said.
PC Charnick added: "Our job is to make the railways safe for the travelling public, and that includes possible dangers posed by animals."
Additional reporting by Press Association