A SHOCKED mechanic could hardly believe his eyes when he found a live snake in the back of a car.
Gordon Aikman, 52, was clearing out the personal belongings from a black Citroen Xsara after it was impounded by police.
But he got the shock of his life when he tried to pick up a ‘toy snake’ from the back seat – and it slithered out of his reach.
The two foot reptile slipped behind a door panel and had to be cut free, while the shaken mechanic looked on.
Gordon explained: “I was in a car we were scrapping for the police which has been sitting there for a month. When I saw the snake, I didn’t think it was real and went to grab it – but it moved away.
“I jumped out of my skin. It’s not the kind of thing you expect to find. It’s certainly the scariest thing I’ve ever found in the back of a car.”
But he said although he did get a fright, it was nothing compared to the way the snake reacted.
He said: “Believe me, I got a shock, but so did it and it slithered behind a panel.
“It must have been a pet because it didn’t try and bite me or anything.
“We had to cut it out, but thankfully it was fine.”
Workers at the T and J Wallace garage in Macmerry, East Lothian, called the SSPCA who identified it as a non- poisonous pet corn snake.
SSPCA ambulance driver Connie O’Neill, who retrieved the snake, confirmed that it had been living in the car for the whole month since it was impounded.
She said: “We know from what had been in the car that the snake had belonged to person who owned the car because we found a bag of dead mice too.”
And she insisted that despite going a month without food, the snake was still in good health.
She said: “As long as they are nice and warm they can go quite a long time without food. It would have slithered behind the panel to keep warm. Snakes in vehicles often slither behind the panels or towards the engine for warmth.”
David Legge, the Force Liaison Officer for the Vehicle Recovery Scheme, admitted that the telephone conversation he had with the garage about a snake in a car was the strangest he had ever had.
He said: “Our contractors often contact me for advice on valuable or unusual property found in uplifted vehicles, but this takes the biscuit.
“Sometimes we can find knives or baseball bats hidden in vehicles, but the snake is something no one would want to find, let alone handle.”
Gordon, from North Berwick, is now insisting he will be extra cautious the next time he has to clear out a car.
He said: “I’ll be looking out more closely in future, that’s for sure.”
The snake is currently being cared for by the SSPCA in Balerno.
If the owner does not come forward in the next few days to claim the pet, it will be re-homed.