AN intruder wearing a ski mask burst into a school pointing a ‘gun’ at staff and pupils, demanding cash and mobile phones.

Police were called to Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads, after the attempted raid.

Six officers and four off-duty officers carried out a search of the area but the offender had already fled.

Head Nigel Dawson said the high school is working with police to catch the raider.

The offender, who was described as wearing girls trainers, entered the school’s reception area carrying what was thought to be a ‘small, black pistol’.

They threatened three members of staff and three pupils, who believed the supposed weapon was a water gun.

The school sent a letter to parents to inform them of the incident.

Mum Jacqui Rogers, who has two 14-year-old children at the school in Fearns Moss, said the incident had left her concerned for her children’s safety.

The 52-year-old from Bacup said: “You send your children to school, trusting them to take care of them like you would.

“The lack of security at the school has made me very worried about sending them in.

“It’s fortunate that no one was hurt, but what if it had been a real gun?

“The children are very vulnerable there and something needs to be done to improve the level of security.”

Tracy Davies, whose 13-year-old daughter Megan attends the school, said she would like to see security tightened.

The mum-of-three, from Stacksteads, said: “At the moment, anybody could just walk in.”

Nigel Dawson, headteacher at Fearns, said: "This was a very unusual incident but I'm relieved to say that it appears no one was in danger at any time.

"Everyone reacted appropriately and calmly, and the whole thing was over in a few moments. “Thankfully no one was hurt, and no items were stolen, before the intruder ran off.

"We're working closely with the police in their enquiries.

“We'll also make sure that the three members of staff and three pupils who were present at the time receive support, should they need it.

"School life continued throughout the incident, with very few people aware that it had even happened at the time."

A police spokesman said: “Witnesses described a male, or possible female, in girl’s trainers who sounded like a girl putting on a man’s voice, demanding money and mobile phones, before fleeing the school.

“Due to the appearance of the individual, the veracity of the weapon was very quickly put in doubt.

“Pupils in the reception area immediately laughed at the person making threats, and the weapon turned out to be a blue plastic toy gun with an orange tip.

“Two lines of enquiry were followed on two possible perpetrators, but both were found to have no case to answer."

Ward councillor Christine Lamb said: “It all sounds very bizarre, but it must have been worrying for those involved as they were not aware if it was a gun or not.

“From my experience as a school governor, I know that school security is tight at primaries and I am sure they take it just as seriously at Fearns.”

Police are urging anybody with information on the incident, which happened at around 1.30pm on Wednesday, March 26, to contact them.