A RUNAWAY reindeer is safely back with its herd this morning after making a festive bid for freedom in North Lancashire.

The young female animal - nicknamed Dasher - escaped earlier today from the Bay View Garden Centre on the A6 near Bolton-Le-Sands.

A staff member confirmed to The Westmorland Gazette at 10.40am: "It's now back, safely in its pen and is uninjured. We will be issuing a press release shortly."

It is believed the runaway reindeer caused several motorists to brake suddenly, a minor accident between two vehicles although no-one was injured, and a flood of phone calls to the police.

Stephanie Cockerham, the garden centre owner, said she was "very upset," it had caused an accident and that the priority for staff was the welfare of the animal.

It initially made it into the safety of a field but then headed onto the nearby sands at Morecambe Bay where staff successfully shepherd it to safety.

It is one of three baby reindeers at Bay View Garden Centre on Mill Lane run by David Griffin and Ms Cockerham, which has Christmas displays.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said they were called at 9am to assist police after reports of an 'unknown quantity' of reindeer, although they were stood down when it was realised only one had escaped.

Did you see the runaway reindeer or get a photograph/video? Get in touch.

Call The Westmorland Gazette on 01539 710161 or email mike.addison@kendal.newsquest.co.uk