A MERECEDES sports car was blasted with a shotgun in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Police said the black SLK 250 was parked outside a house in West View, off Knowle Lane, Darwen when it was targeted.
Nine police vehicles lined the residential street, as detectives launched an investigation into the incident.
Specialist crime scene investigation officers spent yesterday collecting evidence and conducting fingertip searches behind a police cordon.
The gunshot damage to the Mercedes, worth upwards of £20,000, was discovered by the owner, who lives in the street at around 8.30am.
Police said they were unable to determine what kind of shotgun had been used in the shooting, or whether the gunman had been in a car or on foot.
Neighbours heard a loud bang at around 1.10am, police said.
Nobody was in the car at the time of the attack, and officers confirmed no-one had been injured during the incident.
Residents have expressed their shock at the shooting.
Andy Crosby, who lives in West View described hearing the gunshot.
He said: “We heard a shot at about half past one in the morning. A big bang.
“I thought it was kids letting off fireworks.
“I’ve got two little dogs and they were going mad, but I didn’t think anything of it.
“We just heard one big, clear bang.
“I saw the side of the car, it’s made a mess of it.
“This road is quite quiet, three bobbies live on this row, it’s normally quiet here.
“The only noise is usually from kids taking bikes on the field.”
Other neighbours said they slept through the drama, but were shocked to wake up to see dozens of police searching the area.
One man, whose home formed part of the police cordon, said: “I woke up and saw all the police cars outside.
“I thought there’d been an accident, it’s a bit of a bad spot and there have been accidents there before.
“I just looked out of the window and saw all the police cars, you definitely don’t expect something like that around here.”
Fellow neighbour Marian Holden added: “I didn’t see anything in the night, I was surprised to see the police here this morning.
“I went to take the dog out this morning at half past eight and they weren’t there, then I came back from the field with the dog and they were all over.
“I had to walk all the way round to the shops, they wouldn’t let me through.
“I don’t know whether anybody got hurt or anything.
“It’s surprising, first I heard about the police searching Sunnyhurst woods, and then to hear about this too, it’s a bit much, it’s a quiet neighbourhood.”
Det Sgt Eric Halford said police patrols were being stepped up in the area.
He said: “We have been making inquiries today to establish how the vehicle has been damaged and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“I would appeal for anyone who may have been in the area at around this time who may have seen something to come forward and speak to the police.
“Fortunately no one was in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
“I would like to reassure residents in the area that we are thoroughly investigating what has happened and will be increasing patrols in the area.”
Sudell councillor Roy Davies said: “To be quite honest it is not a surprise in that area.
“A few years ago we had a shooting in Frances Street.
“It is frightening when you think about it, especially in such a quiet street.
“Anything could have happened and we obviously want to know the reason behind it.
“It just goes to show how rough the area of Sudell is getting.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log reference LC-20140905-0289