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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Spider bites man in supermarket
Mr Travenen back home in Newport
Mr Travenen said he felt something sharp, like a needle
A 65-year-old man has been treated in hospital after being bitten by a venomous spider as he reached for a bunch of bananas at a supermarket.

Former gardener Phillip Travenen, from Newport, south Wales, collapsed in pain after being bitten by the giant crab spider at a local Sainsbury's store.

He was taken to hospital, where he was monitored for 17 hours.

Sainsbury has apologised for any distress caused and said it was investigating Monday's incident.

Mr Travenen who suffers from emphysema said he felt something tickle his fingers as he reached to pick up the fruit.

"I picked up a couple of bananas and felt something sharp like a needle. It was the size of a 50p piece," he added.

He then said he suffered shortness of breath before being taken to hospital.

At the time he admitted he was worried he might die because he did not know the strength of the venom.

A member of staff captured the spider and it was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital to be identified.

It later died and further tests were carried out at Bristol Zoo.

Sainsbury's store
We arranged for his shopping to be dropped at home after the incident, and are extremely sorry that this may have caused him distress
Sainsbury's statement

The creature, from the giant crab spider family or Sparassidae, is not generally highly venomous said head of invertebrates at the zoo, Warren Spencer.

"But it will certainly bite in defence if handled roughly.

"They are known commonly as banana spiders," he added.

In a statement, Sainsbury's said they take "all possible precautions to prevent events such as this from happening".

"It is extremely unfortunate that this spider got through all the rigid controls and we apologise to the customer concerned.

"We sell millions of bananas every week and it is an extremely rare occurrence.

"The customer has not been harmed from the bite, and we believe he is now fine.

"We arranged for his shopping to be dropped at home after the incident, and are extremely sorry that this may have caused him distress."

The Welsh Ambulance Service confirmed that they were called to the store in Wyndham Street at 1759 BST on Monday and took the man to the Royal Gwent Hospital.

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