Police have launched an investigation after a man was shot and firearms stolen during an armed robbery at a farm in Lancashire.
Armed police rushed to the village of Aughton around 9.40pm on 28 July following reports that a man had been injured during a raid at a farm.
The 65-year-old was taken to hospital for surgery, with serious gunshot wounds to the ankle and knee.
Four shotguns, jewellery, watches and cash were stolen from inside the property before the offenders – believed to have been wearing balaclavas or face coverings and carrying firearms – fled the scene.
Detective inspector Jason Richardson of Lancashire Police said: “The victim has understandably been left very shaken by his ordeal.
“Incidents of this nature are rare, and I would like to reassure the public we have a dedicated team of officers working on this investigation. We are determined to find the men responsible and the firearms they took. Patrols have also been stepped up in the area.”
Libby Bateman, rural adviser for the Country, Land and Business Association (CLA) in the North, said: “We are sickened by this crime. As it is, our police forces are stretched on resources, and it is unfortunate as it leaves rural areas a vulnerable target for hardened criminals.
“The CLA published a report on rural crime in mid-July which shows police forces need more resources if they are to meet the expectations of those who live and work in the countryside.
“We would like to see more forces being given the tools to combat rural crime effectively, but much more needs to be done to ensure rural crime is taken seriously.
Call handlers need to be trained to recognise the isolated vulnerability of rural residents, so resources can be dispatched efficiently and appropriately.”
This latest incident comes amid widespread concerns about levels of policing in the countryside.
A survey earlier this year by Farmers Weekly of more than 550 farmers highlighted how farming communities were living in fear, with 78% of respondents saying they were “concerned” about becoming a victim of rural crime and 32% saying they were “very concerned”.
Anyone with any information about the Aughton incident can call Lancashire Police on 999, quoting incident reference 1553 of 28 July. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111