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Posted by W von Papinešu on August 08, 2002 at 18:13:44:
GRIMSBY TELEGRAPH (UK) 08 August 02 Live Newt In Lettuce Shock For Housewife (Hannah Kennard)
Never mind finding a caterpillar in your lettuce - one Grimsby-area shopper found a live newt in hers.
June Crewsdon, of Chapman Crescent, Humberston, bought the iceberg lettuce at a Cleethorpes shop and saw the creature inside the plastic wrapping when she got home.
She showed it to her neighbour, Neil McKay, who quickly realised there was something slightly out-of-the-ordinary going on.
At first they thought it was a salamander and Mr McKay said: "I was just having a barbecue when my neighbour called me over to look at this lettuce.
"At first I thought it was a caterpillar, but when I got closer, it looked more like a lizard.
"I told her I would take it out for her, and she could get on and wash her lettuce and have her tea! She didn't seem very keen to be honest."
Mr McKay (36) quickly released the amphibian from the wrapping and put it inside a container with some sand, a twig, water, half a plum and some lettuce.
"I didn't want to keep it, but I didn't want it to die either, so I put it in a sweetie jar and rang a reptile specialist in Lincoln and they told me to call the RSPCA," Mr McKay said.
Mrs Crewdson bought the lettuce at the Spar shop on Hardys Road, Cleethorpes.
"I had just put it on the side and then I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.
"When I picked the lettuce up, I could see it was inside and I took it out to show my neighbour.
"I did eat it in the end. I needed it because people were coming round for tea!
"It had been on the outside and iceberg lettuces are quite tight, so I thought it wouldn't have been able to get inside and just removed the outside leaves."
Experts first thought it was a salamander which had somehow arrived in the country from the East Coast of America.
They then realised the five-centimetre long creature was in fact a newt.
It was nicknamed Iceberg and taken to a specialist carer of exotic animals in Wickenby, Lincolnshire. It has since been set free.
An RSPCA officer said he was astonished Iceberg managed to survive being packed into the plastic and stored in a shop chiller cabinet.
The manager of the store declined to comment.