Poachers are suspected to be behind gunshots heard close to a high school.
Pupils at Broughton High School told staff at Broughton Enterprise and Business College near Preston that they had heard shots fired on the way to school on Thursday.
It came as officers reveal they have seen a sharp increase in complaints and pieces of intelligence about suspected poachers in the run up to Christmas.
They are appealing for information about a four by four car which has been seen parked up in Inglewhite and other villages around Preston.
PC Chris Banks said: “Poaching is a problem because poachers are going onto land they aren’t supposed to be on, shooting rabbits and deer, with no regard for public footpaths or farm animals.
“The issue of poaching and wildlife crime is being given far more priority by Lancashire Police since evidence has emerged linking these activities to organised crime groups
“While there are locally based offenders the trend around here is usually criminals coming from other areas like Liverpool.
“We are aware of a four by four car doing the rounds during the evening.
“We have a lot of calls and e-mail through our Farm Watch scheme from farmers who find carcasses the next morning.
“We aren’t sure why there has been an increase in intelligence but usually at this time of year there are more calls and concerns about poachers.
“There has been an incident of gunshots being heard close to Broughton High School.
“We would urge everybody to be aware and to call us if they see vehicles acting suspiciously.”
Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.