Nellie packs her trunk and says goodbye...

Shoppers in a Cork city suburb got a bit of a surprise yesterday when an elephant decided to wander around a retail carpark before charging up to a traffic junction.

Gardaí were called to the Blackpool area after the animal broke free from a nearby circus.

The circus is currently situated at the site of the old Sunbeam factory, which is just three minutes away.

The Indian elephant appeared to be in quite belligerent form, refusing to be led by his keeper.

Copyright, Paul Dunbar

A second circus employee soon drove down to the Blackpool Retail Park, which is home to shops including Argos and Next Home and a branch of Costa Coffee.

He also tried unsuccessfully to get the elephant under control.

One motorist contacted gardaí, claiming the elephant had damaged his parked car as he tried to escape the two handlers.

Despite the efforts of the two circus employees, the elephant made another dash for freedom, running towards the nearby Blackpool Shopping Centre.

The runaway was eventually stopped at the traffic lights and escorted back to the circus.

The show must go on...

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