A Hampshire, England, firefighter on a 999 call had a python thrust at him by a householder furious that his pet snake had been woken by a fire engine.

James Edwards was outraged that his beloved python Isobel had been scared by fire crews responding to a blaze in the middle of the night near his home, Southampton magistrates were told.

The 27-year-old stormed out of his flat with the 5ft snake wrapped round his arms to plead with firefighters to switch off their blue flashing lights.

He marched up to the fire engine and thrust the snake towards fire officer Tony Dorey who was in the cab.

Little did he know Mr Dorey was petrified of snakes – and was so shaken by the black and brown reptile writhing towards him that he phoned the police.

Southampton magistrates heard how Edwards was upset as his two-year-old snake had begun striking its head on the wall of its tank because of the lights and noise as firefighters were dealing with a small fire in a trailer.

Edwards, 27, unemployed, of Marryat Road, New Milton, pleaded guilty to using threatening and words and behaviour to cause alarm and distress to Mr Dorey during the incident on January 11 at 12.30pm.

Magistrates ordered him to compensate Mr Dorey, a retained firefighter based at New Milton, with £100 and pay £85 court costs.

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