An RSPCA inspector dealt with a job with a sting in its tail – after a stowaway scorpion hid in a suitcase and travelled 5,400 miles from Mexico to Buckinghamshire.

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The animal welfare charity was contacted by a holidaymaker who discovered the tiny critter – just 2cm long – while unpacking her suitcase after a break to the country.

The scorpion was contained at the house in Wellesbourne Crescent, in High Wycombe, and picked up by RSPCA inspector Rachel Smith, who took the arachnid to a specialist exotic pet centre in Hertfordshire.

The scorpion is believed to come from the Vaejovidae family and, although very small, can cause a highly painful sting.

Inspector Smith said: “The scorpion’s legs and pincers are all intact and it is remarkably unscathed given that it has travelled thousands of miles in a tightly-packed suitcase. It was so small that it is very lucky to have been spotted – it could very easily have been missed.

“The woman who found the scorpion did the right thing by safely containing the scorpion without picking it up. Fortunately no one was stung and this scorpion will now be cared for by experts.

“This is just a timely reminder to people to always check your clothes, towels and shoes properly when packing to return home from a trip abroad, as you never quite know what surprising souvenir you might bring home with you!”

To help the RSPCA look after and rescue animals, text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message) or visit www.rspca.org.uk/give.