I was wondering whether anyone would be kind enough to help me identify this spider.
I've attempted to compare it to various pictures online so any pointers on how to recognise it once identified would be great.
I have often made mistakes when attempting to identify 'False Widows', but I'll take you through the process that I use. We tend to be asked to identify three different 'False Widows' Steatoda bipunctata, Steatoda grossa and Steatoda noblis (this is the one with a bit of a bite).
Firstly is the overall look, how 'Widow' like is the spider. Definite 10/10 for your example.
Leg colour, bipunctata and grossa have darker legs than noblis which often has a orangey brown tinge to its legs. bipunctata normally has a bit of a stripy patterning on the legs but with the spider in the photo being rather grey with dust (has it been up the hoover?) it is not readily apparent in this photo. So points split for the first two here.
Body colour or abdomen colour. This can be extremely variable with both bipuctata and grossa varying from black through brown and purple to a quite bloody red with the odd white marking thrown in for contrast! So at this stage I would say definitely bipunctata or grossa, noblis tends to have a white or cream band around the front of the abdomen and usually but not always some white or yellowish markings on the top face of the abdomen.
Now I resort to image manipulation and download your photograph and crop it down and play with the contrast, fill light and colour balance to see if anything else becomes apparent.
I think that this crop shows a little stripeyness in the legs so possibly bipunctata but the rather arched abdomen looks like it has some white patches in there that make it look a little grossa like so I have not really achieved much by doing this.
Size is the next factor, noblis and bipunctata rarely go over seven or eight millimeters in body length but grossa as its name suggests can be somewhat larger
Next is location with grossa and noblis being less well distributed the further North you go.
So in conclusion I'm going to go for .... bipuctata or grossa and wait for Bombuslucorums opinion in the morning
Thank-you for that really helpful reply. We have recently had the plaster ceiling in our hallway taken down hence the spider being covered in dust. I was glad to see that you seem certain it was a 'False Widow' - Initially I thought the legs had a hint of brown/orange to them however in looking at pictures of Steatoda noblis online I can see that the legs here are alot darker. In the pic I'm struggling to pick up the white on the abdomen but that's probably because I can't tell what is and what isn't dust.
I can't help but think grossa as the body length must have been around one centimetre.
It seemed quite scared as I trapped it with glass & postcard but didn't show any signs of aggression.
I've attached another picture (pretty blurred unfortunately) from a different angle that seems to show white markings around the abdomen more clearly - but again this may be dust...