A newspaper delivery man was startled to see a four-foot long python in the road in Chippenham.

He came across the snake early morning last Thursday, at the junction of Woodlands Road and Plantation Road.

Pythons are constrictors that kill their prey by suffocating it and can swallow an antelope whole.

The manager of McColls newsagents in Redland called the police at 6.15am, who went out to catch the slithery visitor, but found it to be dead.

They took the python to the Reptile Shack at Hathaway retail park, were staff confirmed, along with a vet, that it was dead rather than hibernating.

Sergeant Phil Connor said: “It was some width. We don’t know where it came from. I expect it was someone’s escaped pet.”