Mediterranean snails believed to have arrived at Cliveden House in balustrade in 1896

Buckinghamshire's historic Cliveden House has been found to have been harbouring a colony of Mediterranean snails for over a century.

The snails, never before seen in the UK, are thought to have arrived in 1896 in a marble garden balustrade imported from Rome but have only just been discovered.

Cliveden House is where politician John Profumo first met model Christine Keeler in 1961, leading to the well-known political scandal.

The 11mm-long papillifera papillaris snails were even then lurking by the marble balustrade, and several hundred now live in the grounds of the house.

They were while a volunteer was cleaning the statuary in the house, which is now owned by the National Trust but while in private ownership was visited by Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin among others.