Britain could be hit by a catastrophic disaster if old wives' tales are to believed, because almost a dozen 'grim reaper' moths have been spotted - measuring as big as KITTENS. 

A rare Death's Head Hawk moth was found outside a church on Tuesday prompting excitement from moth experts who have only spotted ten so far this year. 

The massive moth, which is similar to the one on the Silence of the Lambs poster, gets it's undesirable reputation from the skull-shaped markings on it's back. 

With a wingspan of around six inches, the moth is roughly the size of a small bat and emits a "horrendous" loud piercing squeak which adds to its scary reputation. 

Steve Prangnell, who found the moth with his wife Maggie, said: "It makes a horrendous noise, a scary squeaking noise". 

The couple called the Sussex Moth Group and logged the rare sighting on their website before releasing the moth at dusk where they found it at Holy Rood Church, Pevensey, East Sussex. 

Dave Green, chairman of the Sussex Moth Group, said: "I'm absolutely excited, they are a really interesting species. 

"They are absolutely amazing. 

"This is one of the top moths to spot in the country." 

The species, named Acherontia Atropos (doub corr) are very rarely spotted in England and tend to live in Europe. 

The Death's Head Hawk also appears in Bram Stoker's Dracula and is historically believed to foretell of war, hunger and death.