A LANCASTER antiques centre had one of its biggest customers over the Bank Holiday - when an escaped bull sought refuge among the aisles.

The beast fled from the nearby auction mart and ventured into GB Antiques Centre, Wyresdale Road, through an open loading bay.

Owner Allan Blackburn told the Citizen the bull initially went unnoticed, adding: "The first thing we heard were shrieks from a lady as she was knocked over."

Christine Knight, 56, from Penwortham was visiting with her husband Eric on Monday when the bull sent her flying. She was treated at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for bruising to her shoulder.

"Her husband said she went several feet in the air," says Allan, who also owns Lancaster Leisure Park with his wife Gloria.

"It was a young bull but still a big animal and the woman was obviously in shock.

"Some of the other customers had lucky escapes," he adds. "Our CCTV footage showed one man walking down an aisle looking around with the bull bearing down on him from behind. He went into one of the stalls and the bull passed - and the man didn't even realise."

Allan says they had been 'awfully lucky'.

"Everyone uses the bull in the china shop as a clich and now it has actually happened. But it wasn't a raging bull; it was just terrified.

"It smashed a number of mirrors - I can only think it saw its reflection and head-butted it."

The complex had just 24 customers in at the time, as it was still early - but Allan says Bank holidays often attract about 1,000 people by the afternoon.

Luckily, the bull also turned right towards the furniture section rather than the more delicate china and porcelain.

Allan's son Jimmy and employees used old church organs to barricade the bull in part of the centre and the site was evacuated.

"If it had gone amok in the whole place it would have caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage. Instead I think it will run into thousands of pounds - it could have been a lot worse," admits Allan.

Police firearms officers destroyed the beast - owned by Mr P Lee of Lower Swaineshead Farm, Over Wyresdale - after it was agreed it posed a risk to public safety.

The complex remained shut on Monday - the only day other than Christmas that the centre has closed its doors during its 13-year history.