A SOUTHAMPTON man says he has been left barely able to walk after suffering bites from venomous spiders said to be infesting an area of the tower block he lives in.

Lewis Pearce, 26, is now “scared” for his children’s safety as a result of the spiders that have bitten him five times.

He lives on the 18th floor of Canberra Towers.

Mr Pearce said several spider infestations were seen along the communal stair areas in the block.

And the father-of-three claimed the swollen bites on his left leg were confirmed by doctors as an allergy to venom from false widow spiders.

He said he has suffered severe pain since he was first bitten in July, despite saying he has asked the council to remove the insects.

Lewis said the council told him they “don’t deal with spiders”.

Removals worker Lewis, who is a father to seven-month-old Bethany, Freddie, 3, and Lacey, 5, said he has been bitten while sleeping during the night.

He said: “I can’t walk as it’s very difficult and I haven’t been able to shower properly for over a month as I can’t get the dressing wet.

“The bites are painful and now I’m scared for my children, especially for my seven-month-old baby who sleeps in the same room as me - and during the night is when I’m usually bitten.”

Lewis has been unable to work since he was first bitten due to the severity of the spider bites.

His wife Nadine Pearce, 26, said: “It petrifies me. If my children are bitten like he has been, they won’t stand a chance. When people are being bitten alive, how are we meant to pay rent? I’m meant to be here looking after my children and Lewis can’t work. It feels like we are stuck in a dark tunnel.”

One person whose daughter lives in the block said: “This isn’t a home for my daughter. There are three or four spiders on every single level.”

Advisor Dave Rumble from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said: “False widow spiders are here to stay since they were first noticed 10 to 20 years ago. I would say that is a false widow spider [pictured] – a shiny body with the characteristic markings on the abdomen.

“People have reported being bitten by them and quite painfully so. My advice would be for anyone who sees one to wear long sleeves and treat them as you would a wasp.”

A Southampton City Council spokesperson said: “We take all complaints of this nature seriously. While we haven’t been notified of any other households having this issue, we will investigate and advise tenants accordingly.”