MORE than 20 snakes were snatched during a raid on an East Lancashire pet store.

Several bearded dragons, lizards and geckos were also taken, along with guinea pigs and rats, during the break-in at Ipets, in Waterfoot, overnight on Monday and Tuesday.

One dead Amazon tree boa was found near the shop, on Burnley Road East, and a reticulated python is now recovering with vets.

Police and the shop owners are appealing for the safe return of the reptiles and other animals.

An IPets spokesman said online: "The police have found blood, footprints, possible finger prints although there has clearly been gloves used on some of the tanks. There are also two vans in question. A red one and a white one.

"We have searched in and around the unit and secured most of our stock."

Fifteen Royal pythons, two corn snakes, one blood python, four rat snakes and a Tai beauty snake are among the missing reptiles.

A Calotes lizard, two leopard geckos, an Argus monitor and a Nile monitor, are also unaccounted for.

Pet shop bosses have appealed to anyone who is offered any of the listed animals to contact the authorities immediately.

A £500 reward has been offered for any information leading to their safe return.

"All the animals that were found loose in and outside the unit are now in quarantine and will be assessed over the coming days," added the spokesman.

A police spokesman said: “We have received reports of a burglary at Ipets in Rossendale some time between closing time on Monday and opening on Tuesday.

"They have taken a number of snakes, lizards and guinea pigs. It looks like the intruders have got into the building through the roof. No arrests have been made."

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting log 293 of June 11.