‘Bloomin’ heck he’s got a snake around his neck’ - Shopkeeper’s surprise as customer casually walks in with serpent

Bob Russell had a surprise when a customer brought a snake into his store. Picture: Jack Cross

Bob Russell had a surprise when a customer brought a snake into his store. Picture: Jack Cross - Credit: Archant

This is the moment a shopkeeper had quite a surprise when a customer went into his shop with a snake around his neck.

Cigs & Papers in Exchange Street, Norwich. Picture: Google

Cigs & Papers in Exchange Street, Norwich. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

Bob Russell, of Penn Grove, Norwich, was working his usual morning shift on Saturday, March 7 at Cigs & Papers Tobacconist, in Exchange Street, when a customer came into the shop wearing what he thought was a scarf.

As he started to serve him he noticed it moving and when he put it down on the counter he realised it was a snake.

"It was funny really," Mr Russell said, "I honestly didn't pay much attention to him when he walked in. You look at a customer but you don't notice too much as we have so many.

"He asked about a tobacco product and I lifted the flaps up and he asked for a certain tobacco. He got a packet out of pocket, then I thought 'bloomin' heck he's got a snake round his neck.'

Bob Russell had a surprise when a customer brought a snake into his store. Picture: Jack Cross

Bob Russell had a surprise when a customer brought a snake into his store. Picture: Jack Cross - Credit: Archant


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"He gave me this packet while a snake was around his neck and asked me if the packet was real tobacco. As I handed it back he took the snake off and just laid it down in front of me. That's when I thought 'oh my goodness.'"

Puzzled by the random encounter, Mr Russell, who has worked at the store for 11 years, was not frightened of the animal and discovered they actually have something in common.

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The 66-year-old added: "He told me his name was also Bob and I just thought 'what?'. He then just said he had to go to work and he might come back later to buy some tobacco.

"I'm looking forward to seeing Bob the snake again - it was funny but so bizarre. We have some funny stories working here but I've never had anything like that."

Mr Russell has been praised by his colleagues who were shocked when he told them what had happened.

Jack Cross, 24, said: "I'm surprised at how little Bob reacted.

"It's great that he's been able to meet his namesake in snake form."

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