POLICE in Whitefield had to deal with a slippery customer this lunch time after a python was spotted slithering out from a grid.

The unusual encounter happened outside the Shorecliffe Rise apartment complex off Radcliffe New Road.

Named Cilla, the python belongs to a resident of the apartments, and had been missing for two weeks after escaping from her owner's balcony.

After making her surprise reappearance the reptile was then captured by residents and an off duty police officer, and taken into police custody while officers waited for Cilla to be collected.

PC Richard Garland from GMP Whitefield said: "We found the owner through the power of social media after he got in touch.

"The snake, which we had nicknamed Monty, had dropped from his balcony.

"The grate was in front of the premises so it's probably gone down there because it's dark and quiet.

"It has been missing for two weeks and for some reason today it has decided to emerge. It was probably hungry.

"We turned up as they were putting it in the box and asked if they needed us to take over, but we were quite relieved when they wanted to finish the job.

"It was very docile and just curled up in the box. 

"It's a bit of a job with a difference, you don't get this every day. We're just glad Cilla has been reunited with her owner."