A RUNAWAY cow led to travel chaos for thousands of motorists in Dorset.

Police were called at 10.25am yesterday after the cow was spotted on the A338 Spur Road after clearing a barrier near Matchams, on the outskirts of Bournemouth.

Officers, supported by the police helicopter, attempted to locate the cow and initiated rolling road blocks.

Sections of Avon Causeway and the A338 were closed and traffic backed up for miles along the Wessex Way.

Truck driver Russell Pickard, who was driving along the A338 when the incident happened, said: “There was a farmer’s tractor parked on the other side of the carriageway and the police helicopter was above as well searching for it.

“All the patrol cars went past us. We don’t know where the cow went after that.

“The only cows I have ever seen were penned in a field. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this.”

Shortly after 1pm, police confirmed the cow had been tracked down and had been safely returned to a nearby field.