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Prepare for a spider invasion this autumn

Spiders are on the march Credit: PA

The annual invasion by spiders is expected to be much bigger than normal this autumn. The spiders have had more insects to feed on, because of the mild weather. They are thriving and looking forward to the mating season.

Now an app has been launched to help terrified people identify house spiders that scurry indoors in the autumn.

Indoor spider numbers increase during this time of the year as frisky males go on the hunt for a mate, which leads them into abodes where humans encounter them trapped in the bath or lurking in the corner of a room.

The Society of Biology is launching a Spider In Da House app with photos, identification tools and information to help people identify and learn more about 12 of the most common spiders which become temporary house guests.

Professor Adam Hart, from the University of Gloucestershire, said: "By eating flies and other insects, spiders are not only providing us with a pest control service, but are important in ecosystems.

"They often feed on the most common species, preventing a few species from becoming dominant. We want to encourage people to respect and learn more about their little house guests."

The app also helps users to identify whether spiders are male or female. Female spiders are often larger than the males.

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Three messages in bottles - all on same beach

Messages in bottles do still wash up on our beaches. But in all his years scouring the coastline on the Isle of Wight, Adie Butler had never come across one. That was until earlier this month when he found THREE all on the same beach and within minutes of each other. Richard Jones reports.

History for free this weekend

They're normally closed to the public or charge admission but this weekend, venues across the south-east will be throwing open their doors to the public. The Heritage Open Days scheme is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with guided walks and tours throughout Kent, Sussex and Essex.

David Johns has been for a preview, speaking to historians Caroline Stanford and Chris Jones; heritage walks coordinator Fiona Woodfield and shop owner Sue Luck.

Friends of the Earth welcome decision to reject drilling

Friends of the Earth say the decision is 'common sense' Credit: Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth have welcomed the decision to reject an application to test drill for shale oil at Fernhurst, in West Sussex.

"This is a victory for common sense – there should be no place for shale oil or gas exploration in our national parks.

“But thousands of communities across the country still face the threat of fracking in their back yard.

“It’s time to build a clean energy future based on efficiency and developing the nation’s significant potential for renewable power, and ending our dirty and damaging addiction to fossil fuels.”

36-year-old man arrested in barn fire investigation

Detectives in Kent have arrested a man in connection with a number of reported arsons across the Isle of Sheppey.

In a pre-planned operation, officers executed a warrant in Queens Road and arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of arson, who remains in police custody.

Detectives are investigating farm fires in Lower Road, Minster, on 1st August and Queenborough Road, Queenborough, on 17th August.

Officers remain at the scene at a blaze in Elm Lane, Minster, reported at around 1.25am today.

I recognise how distressing these mindless and destructive fires are and I would like to reassure the residents of Sheppey, and in particular the farming community, that we are committed to catching those responsible.

Alongside the criminal investigation my officers are speaking to the farming community and those affected and offering support and advice at this time.

We have one person in custody today. However, we have a number of lines of enquiry ongoing and there are other people we would like to speak to in connection with these incidents."

– Swale district commander Chief Inspector Tony Henley

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Fire chiefs warn residents over smoke

Around 50 firefighters were called to a large fire involving three barns near Elm Lane, Minster-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey, shortly after 1.15am today.

Smoke from the fire was thought to contain some potentially irritant substances so Kent Fire and Rescue Service asked members of the public to remain inside their homes and keep doors and windows closed as a precaution.

Farm machinery was used to break apart haystacks that were alight to stop the fire spreading further.

A short time ago, two fire engines were still at the site. The cause of the fire is not yet known and will be investigated.

Volunteers to capture badgers for innoculation

They are either seen as charming, nocturnal creatures who are a rare treat to spot - or as a bacteria-ridden pest bringing disease to our farmers - badgers polarise opinion like perhaps no other wildlife creature in this country.

Long linked with the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis, the animals have, in some parts of the country, been culled to stop the spread of the disease. But in East Sussex, a project's underway to vaccinate the creatures instead.

David Johns explains, talking to Kate Edmonds from the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project; Annie Vernon from the National Farmers Union; and wildlife conservationist Trevor Weeks MBE.

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