Early this evening I saw a very large flying insect in the yard at the back of my shop, it was about 4.5cm in total length and about the thickness of a young childs little finger, it had quite wide black and yellow bands around its body and had what looked like two prongs about 5mm long coming from its abdomen, it was quite a menacing looking creature and have not seen anything like it before. If it helps my shop is on the Suffolk coast and it has been very hot today. I would be grateful if you could let me know what it may be. Thank you.
From what you have described this sounds to me like a horntail _Urocerus gigas_ (http://www.nature-shetland.co.uk/nature tail01.jpg), a harmless insect related to bees and wasps. They can grow up to about 40mm long and the female's ovipositor looks fearsome but is only used for drilling into wood to lay her eggs, they have no sting.
Let us know if this helps or not.
this sounds like a giant woodwasp (Urocerus gigas).
(Image © Peter & Erica Clarke.)
These large sawflies are actually harmless, they use their big ovipositor to lay eggs in wood, rather than sting. They can be seen throughout the summer, usually in or around coniferous woodland.
(Whoops, simultaneous posting - glad we agree though!)
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