“Surprising”, “weird” and “right in front of you” – these are some of the words being used to describe statues of GIANT bugs which have been installed at Derby’s Intu centre.

The 12 bugs went on display at the shopping centre earlier this month and among the collection of insects are bees, ants, caterpillars and hornets.

And shoppers who we have spoken to have been pretty positive about their up close and personal encounters with the large insects.

The Big Bugs on Tour campaign is in Derby as part of a nationwide tour and it is being backed by Spring/Autumn Watch presenter and naturalist Chris Packham.

He told Derbyshire Live: “We are facing a crisis in our countryside. I haven’t seen a single butterfly in my garden this year and more needs to be done to reconnect people with nature and start caring for and realising the importance of the bugs in your backyard.

“Big Bugs on Tour is shining a big magnifying glass on this and is a fantastic initiative to alert to the importance of nature in our lives.”

Roger Binks, customer experience director for Intu, said a closer connection with nature makes people happier and that the tour was an opportunity to improve education and get people interested.

He told Derbyshire Live: “Over 35 million people shop at Intu centres every year so we hope bringing them face-to-face with these giant British bugs can make a real impact in how they interact and reconnect with nature, and ensure they are happier than when they arrived.”

Speaking about the giant bugs, shopper Adam Smith, 23, from Derby, said: “I wouldn’t usually take an interest in bugs but since they are just right in front of you as you are shopping, it’s a big surprise and you want to go over and have a look – and maybe even some people might check what they are if they’re not sure.”

Karen Jones, 35, of Derby, who was also doing some shopping with her five-year-old daughter, said she thought the statues were a really good idea.

She said: “I like it because my daughter can learn about bugs without the dangers attached to it. Kids like weird stuff and it’s definitely an experience seeing these bugs up close and personal.”

The bugs will be on display in Intu until April 1.