A stash of semi-automatic shotguns have been taken in a raid on a Lancashire shooting school.
A total of 18 weapons, worth around £30,000, were taken overnight between 24 and 25 October from Kelbrook Shooting School, east Lancashire.
A Lancashire Constabulary spokesman said the thieves had got into the school through the roof.
One of the guns was found on a nearby footpath by a member of the public.
Detective Inspector Jim Elston said; “This is a very unusual burglary and I believe the store has been targeted for its contents.
“I understand the concerns the community may have knowing this amount of firearms are in the hands of criminals. A team of detectives are currently trying to establishing the full circumstances around the theft and to trace the people responsible.
“We are working closely with our neighbouring forces as there is a likelihood that these weapons may have been taken out of the Lancashire area and we are anxious to recover them as soon as possible.
“I believe that this theft was pre-planned and so in particular, I would appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area, not only on the night of the offence, but in the days and weeks leading up to the offence to come forward.
“Although at this stage we believe that the offenders have approached the shop and have then left on foot over open land to the rear of the building, we believe that they will have had access to a vehicle which will have been parked up a short distance away. In that respect, I would like to extend the appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious vehicles anywhere in the vicinity to come forward.”
Anybody with any information concerning this incident can contact police on 101 quoting log number LC-20131025-0299 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org.