THE BOSS of a furnishings firm got the shock of his life — when he found a 4ft-long snake in the back of his van.

Steve Potter, managing director of Contract Furnishings, had just hired the van on Tuesday evening and brought it back to the company’s base in Bury Road, Radcliffe, when he made the shocking discovery.

At first, his colleagues did not believe him until they saw the evidence for themselves — a non-venomous brown corn snake relaxing in the van.

Fortunately for Mr Potter — and for the snake — the story had a happy ending as it was safely rescued and rehomed by a reptile expert called Crocodile Joe.

Mr Potter said: “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He added: “I picked the van up about 5.30pm and didn’t have time to check the back of the van before I left.

“When I got back, I opened the doors and saw a strange creature’s head moving around. I couldn’t believe it and had to do a double take.

“When I told a colleague, she just didn’t believe me.

“Before long, there was a crowd of our staff circling around with their phones taking pictures, though noone dared to go near it.”

Bury Van Hire bosses, who own the van, came to collect it and called Bolton-based animal lover Crocodile Joe to their base in Limefield Brow, Bury.

Joe, who learned about snakes during his time living in Australia, said: “I enticed him out with a tasty dead mouse as a meal.

“Luckily, it only took me a few minutes to rescue him safely. We have named him Bury.”

He added: “When I opened the van, I could see his head poking out of a light fitting.

“He had got down to the well of the van and we had to take the bumper off.”

Bury is set for a comfortable life at Crocodile Joe’s Wild World show, which he takes on the road to teach people about reptiles.

“I also design luxurious vivariums for corn snakes, so Bury is in for a treat.”

But the snakes origin is still a mystery.

Bury Van Hire depot manager Rick Brace said: “It has left us scratching our heads.

“Our best theory is that he may have come from some tree branches that my colleague cut away a couple of weeks ago to use as compost. ”

  • Read our handy guide to corn snakes here.