Watch out, adders are about! A dog walker has come up with a novel idea to help protect pets and youngsters from deadly snakes which have been spotted in a seaside village.

Seascale parish councillor Catherine Harvey-Chadwick is offering bells to attach to collars or clothing in a bid to ease fears over adders, which are Britain’s only venomous snake and are known to nestle in long grass and on the sand dunes.

There have been reports in the past of adders striking out and killing dogs in the area.

This has led Coun Harvey-Chadwick taking action to stamp out concerns.

She said: “It’s a gesture because there have been lots of people who get quite uneasy about them and a few people have been bitten.

“I thought this was a good idea to ease people’s concerns a little bit.

“Anything that helps keep the dogs and adders safe is important.

“My phone was going off all day and I’ve ordered a lot of bells already.

“There have been a lot of people saying they want them.”

As well as walking other people’s dogs, Coun Harvey-Chadwick has four dogs of her own and said she had been told that bells were used to ward off snakes in South Africa.

She also plans to raise the idea to the parish council of putting up signs to make people aware that adders are in the area.

David Pollard, who is technical advisor for Cumbria Amphibian and Reptile Group with more than 40 years of experience studying adders, has issued advice for safe viewing of the snakes.

“While walking this area carefully watch around clumps of vegetation especially first thing in the morning when adders bask to absorb heat this is the best time to view an adder,” he added.

“Any hissing, striking and eventually biting are the snake feeling it is under threat and as such defending itself.

“Wth respect to children and dogs – at this time of year they should be kept under relatively close control around this area where adders are known to frequent.”

He said any bites should be treated at hospital or by a vet.

The bells are available from Coun Harvey-Chadwick in return for a small donation to Animal Concern at Egremont.