Published: 00:00, 17 May 2016
A student believes he has zapped the first of the killer hornets making a beeline for the UK from France.
James Roberts was in the garden of his bungalow in Waterdales in Northfleet last week when he spotted what he thinks was a two-inch long Asian hornet.
Authorities say the hornets have been killing honey bees and terrorising people in France, even though they are unlikely to kill humans.
However, the insects pose a particular risk to people with severe allergic reactions, and their stings have so far resulted in six deaths in France.
Before James, 35, sent the creature down the plughole of his kitchen sink, he took photos of it as it lay dead.
“I came across it while lighting up a cigarette in my pyjama bottoms in my garden last Tuesday morning,” said James.
“I felt something big pass my back and at first thought I was stung but I wasn’t.
“I went back inside and it must have followed me in because I then noticed it trapped behind the kitchen curtain near the sink.
“I gave it a whack with a rolled up newspaper and it flew off to die in the basin. Before washing it down the hole, I took some photos of it and have alerted the appropriate authorities.
“People should be vigilant that these things have made it to the UK, they could have settled in the winter and made their own nests.”
The hornets are believed to have travelled to France in some Chinese pot plants in 2004.
They are prolific killers of honey bees, and beekeepers have been sent alerts by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
“I feel very lucky I wasn’t stung,” said James. “I react badly to stings and if it had got me I would probably have been in hospital by now.”