A WOMAN and her two young children were tied up by armed masked men who burst into their home.

The robbers, who were armed with knives and wore skull masks, stole a number of firearms, including a pump action shotgun, a deer rifle, and a foxing rifle, as well as ammunition, in the Longrid- ge raid.

Police said the woman and her two sons, aged eight and ten, were threatened with a sledgehammer, and tied up with dressing gown cords.

The youngsters also witn-essed their mother being punched in the face.

The gang are believed to have made their getaway from the house, in Halfpenny Lane, in a white Transit van.

The incident happened shortly after 5.30pm on Tuesday, and Lancashire Police have launched an investigation.

Officers have been making door-to-door inquires, and asking neighbours if they saw anything suspic-ious between 3pm and 7pm on Tuesday.

The police have described the men as all wearing masks and gloves, and speaking with Liverpool accents.

They said that one of the men also had a snood covering his face.

Detective Inspector Paddy O’Neill said: “This must have been extremely traum- atic for the family involved and, thankfully, they were not seriously hurt.

“The offenders have stolen a number of firearms and ammunition, and I am concerned that they could make their way into general circ-ulation and be used for further criminality.

“I would appeal for any-one with any information to get in touch with us as a matter of urgency, so that we can try to recover these weapons.”