SHOPPERS were left stunned after a secretive snake slithered its way into Stanhope main street.

The adder, which is the UK's only poisonous snake and can usually be found on the nearby moors, was found on the Front Street on Saturday afternoon.

PC Ellis Hutchinson said the snake was caught in front of the town’s police station at the Durham Dales Centre having been originally spotted in a garden on Castle Close in the town.

He said: “We were called by worried residents of after they discovered a snake in the gardens.

“Officers safely captured the animal, which was identified as an adder, and released it unharmed back in to its natural environment.”

Adders live on the moors and are known to be secretive animals who avoid contact with humans.