Arachnophobes in the West Midlands are being given an opportunity to overcome their fear at a series of special events.

The arachnophobia workshops are being trialled at Dudley Zoological Gardens Discovery Centre with the help of local spider experts.

During the two-hour sessions, visitors are encouraged to learn about the creatures through relaxed, informal discussions.

"This is a new format we are trialling and feel confident that it will be a big success and become a regular event", said marketing manager Julia Lockett.

"We get a lot of phone calls from people who are scared of spiders and other animals and they want advice to get over their anxieties", added chief executive Peter Suddock.

"We've run workshops like this in the past and they have worked well. What is important and unique about these sessions is that we do not use hypnosis. The fear is removed purely by informing and educating".

The next workshop will be held in November and will cost £10, including admission to the zoo. For further information contact Dudley Zoological Gardens on 01384 215313.