A video has been released showing the moment three escaped circus elephants smash cars as they rampage through a seaside town in Denmark after being beaten by their trainers.

The footage, posted online by YouTube user Casper Sanderson, shows terrified tourists desperately running from the pachyderms path of destruction as one of the elephants knocks a car out of the way with its trunk, damaging the window and bonnet.

The incident took place in the Danish town of Karrebæksminde, where the three elephants, Lara, Jenny and Jungla, were taken to the sea to cool down as part of an annual tradition. On their way back to the circus, one of the animals became restless prompting a trainer to beat it. Becoming further agitated by the circus employees actions, the three elephants then escaped their handlers and charged through the town.

As well as the damage to the cars, a woman is reported to have knocked her head on a cobblestone after being pushed to the ground. The circus has denied all responsibility for the events, with its director Benny Berdino saying in a statement that people should have kept their distance.

Berdino did add that the circus will ask local police for assistance in next years bathing to ensure the incident does not occur again.