AN escaped cow found on the Central Motorway in Newcastle was shot dead by armed Northumbria Police officers last week when it posed a risk to public safety.

Police officers were called on Wednesday around 9pm where they discovered four cows loose on the road at Cowgate.

Three cows were brought successfully to safety, while the fourth was “destroyed” by firearms officers after it was found in a “distressed state”.

The actions of the officers involved have since come under fire with some members of the public taking to social media to express concern about the outcome.

One user wrote: “Could they not have rounded it somewhere safe or tranquillise it? Police seem to use their guns for bad rather than good. It didn’t have to end that way.”

Others, however, commended the quick response by police and agreed with the decision made.