THIS was the scene as a crowd of people avoided injury when a runaway van crashed into a bollard near a popular York pub.

The Mercedes van, which belongs to local car valeting firm Mr Clean, had been parked in King Street, but rolled towards the crowd outside the King’s Arms at about 4pm yesterday, possibly due to a handbrake failure.

Stewart Moss, who was working in his Woodsmill Quay flat across the river at the time, sent The Press this picture.

He said: “They were very, very lucky, I think. A couple of feet to the side, and it could have been a different story.

“It just came out of nowhere. I was typing away and heard people shouting others to get out of the way, quite frantically. It was quite dramatic, because there were quite a lot of people in the way. People were shouting from both sides of the river. The van lifted a couple of feet at the back because it really walloped the bollard.”

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police confirmed that officers had attended the scene, and said no damage had been done to any property or structures, and that nobody had been injured.

A spokesman for the company said nobody was in the vehicle at the time, but the reason for the incident was still under investigation.

He said: “We’d like to thank all the people who came to see if the driver was all right, even though he wasn’t in the vehicle.

“No one was injured, as far as I’m aware. It looks like a handbrake failure, something like that. It just rolled down the hill into the bollard. I’m not sure if the van’s out of action, it’s in for checks.”

Mr Moss, 31, said: “It was quite a miracle nobody was hurt.”