A BEACHCOMBER took a deadly Portuguese man o’war home thinking it might make a tasty snack.

Peter Bennett, 81, found the unusual looking sea creature – which has a powerful sting that can be fatal – on Saltdean beach yesterday morning.

Thinking his find might be a fish’s bladder, art dealer Mr Bennett picked the animal up with his bare hands, took it back to his home just minutes from the beach and popped it in the fridge.

It was only when the avid beachcomber, who has an interest in marine life, decided to research what the strange blue coloured sac was that he discovered how dangerous it can be.

He said: “I just picked it up and held it in my hand. I had no idea it could injure me.

“I thought it was a bit of plastic to start with. It looked like a small balloon about six inches long and three wide.

“I didn’t know what it was so I picked it up and brought it home to do some research.

“I thought it might be a fish bladder, but thought it must have been a pretty big fish. I was going to eat it.

“I put it in the fridge but I had no idea I had a killer in there.”

Mr Bennett, who walks along Saltdean beach almost every day, said he had never seen anything like it before.

“It is a most unusual thing,” he said.

Storm Ophelia caused the Portuguese men o’war, which only very rarely swim in to UK waters, to be washed up on Sussex beaches.

More than a dozen were found over the weekend, prompting warnings not to touch them as the veneomous stings can cause red welts and affect the function of the heart and lungs if the victim is allergic or suffers from existing medical conditions.

Parents, in particular, were warned not to let children touch the intriguing looking creatures.