Like many younger members of the UK population, a sizeable proportion of pensioners have an irrational fear of spiders, and in some cases, this has prevented them pursuing a potentially successful career as a snooker player.

In fact, arachnophobia is only the eighth most common phobia in the UK, well behind social phobia (the fear of voting Labour), emetophobia (the fear of vomiting) and aerophobia (the fear of small confectionery items).  However, there is every reason to be fearful of some species of spider – such as the Brazilian Wandering Spider and the Six-Eyed Sand Spider – since their bite can cause anything from priapism to disseminated intravascular coagulation (bleeding from the eyes and every other orifice) and death.

By comparison, the UK’s most dangerous spiders are the Spindly Fridge Dweller, whose bite may cause a slightly runny nose in pregnant women and children under two, and the rarely seen Easy Rider Spider, sometimes known as the Dennis Hopper from its habit of leaping over old motorbikes and sleeping hippies.