A mum is warning Brit beach-goers to wear shoes in the water after stepping on a venomous fish off the Cornish coast - leaving her in such 'excruciating pain' that she would rather have giving birth again.

Ceri Durrant was returning to shore after a dip in the sea at Pentewan Beach while holidaying with family in St Austell, Cornwall, last week when she stepped on the tiny but venomous critter buried in the sand.

Unable to put any weight on her foot, the mum-of-three was warned by a local that the weever fish, which can grow to around 30cm long and is known to frequent British waters, was a likely culprit.

Just minutes after returning to the sand the tiny sting began to cause excruciating pain as the wound turned purple and began to seep blood.

While keeping her foot constantly moving, Ceri turned to Google and a quick search swiftly confirmed she'd been the victim of the dreaded weever sting - which is known to be so painful it makes adults cry in agony.

Having ventured to the public beach away from the Pentewan Sands Holiday Park where Ceri and her family were staying, she opted to brave the pain without treatment.

Ceri, who had never been brave enough to swim in the sea before, likened the 'bizarre' pain to childbirth and is now speaking out about her ordeal to warn others to be vigilant at the beach this summer and to wear shoes in the water.

Ceri, from Southam, Warwickshire, said: "The pain was really, really intense, and I guess that's because of the venom that, when you move your foot, spreads that little bit more.

"I've been stung by a wasp before, that was painful but nothing in comparison to [this]. I did say that I'd rather be in labour with one of my kids again.

"At least I would have had something nice at the end of it."

The weever, a small, sand coloured fish which buries itself in the sand can once stepped on, embeds its dorsal fin into the foot before pumping its venom into the skin.

Ceri Durrant's foot after stepping on a venomous fish - believed to be a weaver fish
Ceri Durrant's foot after stepping on a venomous fish - believed to be a weaver fish

The 45-year-old braved the pain for an hour before it wore off, leaving daughters, Emily, 16, Jessica, 14 and Lucie, 10, scared to go back in the water.

The Durrant family are regular visitors to the Pentewan Sands Holiday Park and had returned for the first time since the pandemic forced them to cancel last year's trip. However, Ceri had never encountered the fish before.

Ceri said: "It was quite intense the pain, almost like it you get a cramp in your calf, it's a lot like that in the foot, like a sharp pain to the end of my toes, it's quite bizarre.

"Initially, when it happened, it just felt like a needle piercing, which obviously took me by surprise.

"I didn't have a clue what it was to begin with and I kept checking my foot as I was trying to hobble out of the water.

"By the time I got back to where we were on the beach and sat down, it was like a purple splodge just around where it had stung me, and the underside of my foot started to go red and spread up to the topside of my foot.

"Your foot is spasming like you would do in labour so when you're contracting, it does feel like that but obviously it's in your foot."

Ceri Durrant 45, Emily Durrant 16, Jez Durrant, 43, Lucie Durrant 10, and 14-year-old Jessica Durrant at the beach
Ceri Durrant 45, Emily Durrant 16, Jez Durrant, 43, Lucie Durrant 10, and 14-year-old Jessica Durrant at the beach

After some initial anxiety, Ceri resolved to remain calm in front of her kids.

As a member of the Pentewan Facebook page, she recalled a post she had read weeks before, warning beach-goers about the fish.

According to the NHS, symptoms from a weever sting can last up to a week. Luckily, after 24-hours the swelling and pain on Ceri's foot began to subside.

Ceri said: "I've got redness still on the foot and some swelling on the top of my foot but I'm able to put weight on it.

"It's still there, it's a bit achy still."

Though the sting occurred just a day into their trip the incident has failed to put a dampener on the holiday.

Ceri said: "My husband came as a kid, his parents brought them every year, he said how nice it was and we've always enjoyed our holidays here and this is our fifth year here now. It's absolutely beautiful here."

However, Ceri recommends anyone else fancying a dip in the sea should purchase some footwear first.

Ceri said: "We've been in the sea already this morning, we've got our beach shoes on.

"It's just one of those things you don't take account of until it happens to you.

"But I definitely recommend some beach shoes."

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