WITH six officers trying to capture their culprit, it had all the hallmarks of a hot pursuit.

But this chase surely ranked as one of the more unusual incidents registered in the police log.

For the culprit on the run was none other than a black bull calf.

The young bull made the great escape from its home in Hocombe Mead nature reserve, off Hiltingbury Road, Chandler’s Ford, yesterday morning before leading officers and fire crews on a merry dance through residential streets and gardens.

The daring dash for freedom was first spotted by police who had been attending a minor rush hour crash in Hook Road, at its junction with Hiltingbury Road.

Officers did a double take when the baby bull appeared at about 9.15am, before the animal legged it down a footpath. With the animal on the loose, they called Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for back-up and they deployed their specialist animal rescue team.

Along with the police they began chasing the animal, trying to corner it in various gardens in nearby roads.

But each time the baby bull gave them the slip.

A Hampshire police spokesman said people were told to move out of the way because the calf was getting distressed.

With no end in sight for the pursuit, more police were drafted in plus an Eastleigh Borough Council officer and a local farmer.

Meanwhile, the bull charged down Ashdown Road, which has a parade of shops and is in the middle of a big housing area. Minutes later it was tracked down in Maytree Road.

In all the chase lasted one and a half hours, finally coming to an end after the wayward beast was cornered in a garden in Lakewood Road.

The drama was captured by a TV documentary crew who were following the animal rescue team.

With owner Mark Black contacted the young Dexter calf was led on to a trailer before being taken back to a farm in Fair Oak.

Mr Black said: “It must have jumped a fence. You have to assume it was a dog walker who let their dog off its lead and spooked it.

“Usually they follow the herd but it must have become separated, which makes me think it must have been chased off the field.”

Additional reporting by Patrick Knock