A venomous snake "more than capable of killing people" has been found in Greater Manchester after surviving a 4,000 mile trip from Pakistan as a stowaway.
The deadly saw-scaled viper - a species believed to have killed more people than all other species combined - was found in a container of bricks by workers at Manchester Brick Specialist in Salford.
A forklift driver spotted the reptile before the company's logistics manager confined the snake with a cardboard box and called animal rescue charity RSPCA, who say it is "lucky" it did not bite anyone.
Inspector Ryan King, who was called to deal with the snake, said: “The report came to us that a saw-scaled viper had been spotted but I was a bit sceptical.
“Sometimes we get to jobs like this and it turns out to be a harmless grass snake - we have even attended snake reports which turn out to be plastic toys.
“However, I only had to take a quick look to realise we were dealing with a reptile which was more than capable of killing people with its highly toxic venom.”
Wearing protective clothing, Ryan was able to safely secure the snake before transporting it to its new home in Liverpool to live with a carer who has a license to look deadly reptiles.
He said: “I just think it was so lucky that they had spotted the snake - they are very small and it could have easily bitten someone and it seems he has been in the brickyard for about a month."
Michael, the man who discovered the snake couldn't believe how venomous and dangerous it was. He said: “I knew to keep a safe distance but obviously had no idea how deadly this snake was - it was pretty shocking!
“Looking back now it really was a good job it was spotted and dealt with or who knows what could have happened.
“The container was shipped at the beginning of November so it seems amazing that the snake has survived for seven weeks away from its natural environment but I am glad it is now safe in a new home.”