A bolting shire horse scattered tourists and shoppers when it galloped though central York on Sunday.

The grey shire horse usually pulls tourists around the historic city in a carriage. On Sunday afternoon the horse was spooked outside York Minster and broke free.

The driver was thrown, and his horse galloped away through the packed Goodramgate and Monk Bar areas.

Eyewitness Andy Forde, 34, from nearby Haxby told The Press newspaper in York: “I was shopping in Goodramgate when I saw the horse galloping down the road towards Monk Bar and then Monkgate.

People were jumping out of the way and fleeing, almost in a state of panic. I was concerned about what might happen and went down to Monk Bar, but by the time I got there the horse had already run off towards Heworth.”

One tourist from Colchester, who was spending the weekend in York, was on another horse-drawn carriage that had to take evasive action when the escaped animal ran towards it.

“We didn’t see it until it was right in front of us, but our driver managed to swerve out of the way and calm the horse pulling his carriage,” she said.

Ten minutes after it had bolted, a member of the public brought the horse under control, according to North Yorkshire Police.

No tourists or shoppers were injured, but the carriage driver, who is in his 50s, was hurt in the fall. Paramedics tended to him at the scene and he was taken to York Hospital but later released.

Horse-drawn carriages are a source of controversy in York, with some residents complaining about the mess and congestion.