A WARMINSTER couple got the shock of their lives when they walked into their brand new kitchen.

Pensioners Eileen Appleby, 71, and her husband Ken, 72, found an eight centimetre-long locust perched on a cupboard door.

“We found the locust on Friday on a cupboard door in our new kitchen. We’ve got no idea how it got there.

“Behind the cupboard door is a bin where we put leftover food, so we were wondering whether the food in bin gave off a certain smell.

“We’ve put it in an old coffee jar and Ken punched some holes in the top,” said Mrs Appleby, of Upper Marsh Road.

Mrs Appleby doesn’t know where the insect came from, although she had recently visited the Whiterow Farm Shop at Beckington to buy some meat and bananas.

“It might have come from there but it could have escaped from a local pet shop,” she said. “I would rather it would be in someone else’s hands.”

Mr Appleby, who runs Floorings Frome Ltd on the Marston Trading Estate in Frome, took the locust to the Pets Corner pet shop in Warminster for staff to look after it.

He said: "The girl at Pets Corner say it’s twice the size as the extra large they sell."

Dani Jones, 23, manager of the Pets Corner near Waitrose supermarket in Warminster town centre, said they stock locusts as food for animals such as lizards, bearded dragons and geckos.

She said: “I am 100 per cent certain that it has not escaped from here. We keep all our locusts in tiny little boxes. The box would have to be open for one to get out.”

Locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers. Although they do not attack humans, they are capable of destroying the agricultural economy of a country in which they live.

They have been feared and revered throughout the history since Biblical times.

Very closely related to grasshoppers, these insects form enormous swarms that spread across regions, devouring crops and causing serious agricultural damage.

A one-kilometre sized swarm with about 40 million locusts can easily consume what 35,000 people do in a day.