A COW was shot by firearms officers after it escaped from its handlers and ran loose in Northallerton town centre.

Two farmers had met in the Northallerton Auction Mart car park on Alverton Lane to exchange animals between trailers on Thursday lunchtime.

This had not been sanctioned by the Mart and a cow broke free and ran loose in the town centre area behind the Barkers department store.

Road access to the area was closed off and nearby residents were told to stay in their homes by North Yorkshire Police following reports that the agitated animal was charging at people.

After efforts to catch the cow failed, firearms officers were called in and the cow was shot by police in Applegarth Cark Park.

The Northern Echo:

The cow escaped during an animal exchange by farmers in Northallerton Cattle Mart car park Picture: Google

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "Police were called at around 1pm on Thursday January 21 after a cow in a very agitated state was seen in the car park of a retail premises and a residential area close to the Applegarth car park in Northallerton.

"It was also reported that the animal, which had escaped from a nearby auction mart (car park), had charged at members of the public in the area.

"Local residents were asked to remain in their houses and pedestrian and vehicle access to the area was closed off while officers dealt with the incident.

"Due to the animal’s very agitated state, and for the safety of members of the public and those involved in trying to contain it, in agreement with the owner, the animal was dispatched by Authorised Firearms Officers.

"Officers followed up with reassurance visits to homes in the area that were affected by the incident.

"No people were injured."

Giles Drew, auctioneer and livestock manager at Northallerton Auction Mart stressed that the incident was not related to any activities at the mart as the meeting in the car park took place without the permission or knowledge of officials.

Mr Drew said: “The fact that these farmers decided to meet in our car park was completely unknown to us.

“It was nothing to do with the Mart but we did offer our assistance to try and catch it rather than it running loose because we had trained staff on site.”