A gas man got a shock on Friday when he went to check the meter in a Surbiton charity shop.

A four-foot corn snake had found its way into the basement at the British Heart Foundation shop in Victoria Road, nestled among bags of donations.

Shop manager John DeCastro said the poor gas man was trapped downstairs as they did not know what species of snake it was.

But police arrived and scooped up the serpent.

Sgt Bob Whitehead, from the St Mark’s ward team, who stepped in to save the day, was not sure what kind of snake it was.

He said: “The call came in from the Heart Foundation saying that the gas guy was in the corner and was trapped by the snake.

“I turned up, looked at it, had a look at the snake, and then basically went and picked him up by the back of the neck.

“I gave it a little bit of a poke with a paddle and it didn’t react too quickly to that. I just stepped in and grabbed him.

“I was a lot happier when I found out it was actually harmless.”

Ryan Dunbar, owner of Reptile Kingdom in Ewell Road, took in the snake from police.

He said it was in poor condition and underweight after not having been fed in some time.

Corn snakes should eat once a week, he added.

The harmless reptiles can grow to six feet in length.

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The roaming reptile had found a cosy spot among piles of donations.

Is this your snake? Let us know by emailing jon.sharman@london.newsquest.co.uk.