Stinging shock in the suitcase

Janette and Colin Birrell
Janette and Colin Birrell
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MOST people return from holiday with a sun-tan and a few souvenirs, but Methil couple Colin and Janette Birrell came back with a little more than expected.

The couple decided to visit Mexico to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, however, after returning home, they found an unwanted visitor had decided to make the journey with them.

While unpacking on Sunday afternoon, Janette felt a nip on her hand from something inside her suitcase so called on her 20-year-old son Liam and Colin to help her find what it could have been.

Janette said: “It felt like a bee or a wasp sting.

“When we were by the pool in Mexico a little boy was stung by a wasp so I thought that one had managed to get inside my suitcase.”

However, it turned out that the family’s unwanted guest was a little more than your run-of-the-mill wasp.

“I shouted to Colin that something had bitten me from inside his suitcase,” said Janette.

“He came through and had a look and hiding next to the zip was a scorpion.

“It was about three inches long and came out and started running around the inside of the suitcase.”

We cannot publish exactly what Colin said his immediate reaction was in a family paper, but suffice to say the three of them got a real fright.

“It was absolutely terrifying to see it running about like that,” said Colin.

“I was really shocked to see it in there.

“It must have been inside for at least 24 hours.”

After managing to catch the scorpion in a Tupperware tub, Janette phoned NHS 24 to seek immediate advice.

They then went next door to visit former school nurse Eileen McGarrity who took Colin and Janette to the Victoria Hospital.

Staff there had to telephone a tropical disease unit in London to try to get more information on how to treat the sting as they had never dealt with an incident of this kind before.

Fortunately the sting from this particular scorpion wasn’t severe, and after being kept in over-night, Janette was allowed to return home on Monday morning.

Apart from some pins and needles in her thumb, where the scorpion struck, there has been no real damage done.

“I worked in the fruit shop on Leven High Street for ten years and never had anything like this,” she said.

Doctors from the Vic called for help from the SSPCA who visited the hospital before taking the scorpion to the Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World.