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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Police shoot 'escaped' cow
Police said the cow posed a grave danger to the public
A cow that escaped from a meat plant in County Londonderry has been shot by a police marksman.

The four-hour drama began at about midday on Wednesday when the cow escaped from the factory on the Lower Newmills Road, Coleraine.

The animal plunged into a river before being trapped by staff from the meat plant and members of the public.

Police decided the animal would be a danger to the public if it got into the town centre.

Trains on the line between Coleraine and Ballymoney were stopped while the cow was cornered at the back of the town's leisure centre on Railway Street.

'Last resort'

However, the cow became distressed and it was decided to put it down because of the fear it could kill someone - especially if it got into the town centre.

A trained police marksman shot the animal just before 1600 BST.

Inspector Milne Rowntree said: "We considered there was a grave danger to members of the public had the cow escaped into the nearby town centre, which was very busy at the time.

"Regretfully, as a matter of last resort, it was decided to shoot the animal."

Mr Rowntree praised the efforts of workers at the meat plant and members of the public who had helped in the operation.

"Only with their assistance were we able to prevent injury to members of the public" he added.

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