A Plymouth resident has captured pictures of what he believes could be the first sighting of an Asian Hornet in the UK.
The insects, which have spread throughout France since arriving in the country in pottery from China in 2004, are likely to come across the British Channel eventually and can grow up to 5cm in length.
In France, six people have died from their stings, and their arrival in the UK is expected at some point in the near future.
Speaking to the Plymouth Herald, local resident, LJ Marley said he spotted one on his garden fence and reported it to the environment agency.
He said: “On return to my home address in Efford I was alerted to this hornet by the shrieks of my friend.
“I got out of the car, completely oblivious to what was on the fence. My friend gasped and shrieked and pointed behind me.
“As I turned, I saw this hornet on the fence. After getting a little closer with extreme caution, I Googled the recent article the Herald wrote and also searched images online. I thought that this was the hornet that people of Plymouth have been warned about.
“I took these shots of the hornet, which was eating the wood on this fence. As you can see in the picture and witness over the period of the next hour or so as I watched the hornet fly away and return, it was eating the wood in various places.
“I think it's really important to let our locals know of insects like this and to warn children whilst in good weather that these insects must be left well alone if sighted.
“I telephoned Plymouth City Council to make them aware of this sighting, but the lady I spoke with in their environmental department didn't seem interested.”