Cow-on-road sign©Cultura/Rex Shutterstock

Armed police have shot dead one of three cows that escaped from a farm in Northumbria.

The cows escaped from a farm in Wallsend on Sunday (17 May), sparking a major police operation involving about 12 police cars, a helicopter and armed officers.

Firearms teams were called to land near the eastbound carriageway of the A1058 Coast Road, shortly before 3pm on Sunday.

See also: Cows shot dead after seven-hour stand-off

A police helicopter and six policeman marksmen were used to recapture two of the wandering cows with the help of the owners.

They were rounded up and taken back to the Rising Sun Farm, which lies within the Rising Sun Country Park, located about eight-and-a-half miles from Newcastle City Centre.

However, armed officers decided to shoot dead one of the cows shortly after 5pm after it became “highly distressed”. Police considered it to be a “significant risk to members of the public and motorists”.

The Coast Road was temporarily closed in both directions, but it has reopened.

The incident caused a mini Twitter storm on Sunday afternoon, with dozens of bloggers commenting on the police response.

Wallsend weather (@wallsendweather) tweeted: “An escaped cow from the rising sun farm has #wallsend on a shut down. Armed response. Helicopter and roads closed…lol.”

Margaret (@happymargy) said: “Police could have waited for vet with tranquiliser before shooting the cow in Wallsend.”