POLICE were called to a reservoir after walkers spotted a suspected poacher and heard shots from a “high-velocity” rifle.

The man was seen wearing a hunting jacket in an area of woodland close to High Rid Reservoir in Lostock at around 7am on Thursday morning.

He was first noticed after firing two shots which caught the attention of people nearby.

Andrew Lockhart was in the area at the time and had been walking towards the reservoir up High Rid Lane when he heard the loud bangs.

After hearing the noise he looked towards the treeline to the west of the reservoir and saw a man with a rifle wearing what he described as a “hunting jacket”.

“I spoke to another couple who lived in the area who were out walking their dog,” Mr Lockhart said.

“They also saw the man. The husband was in the forces and identified the shots as coming from a high velocity rifle.

“It seems the rifleman was trying to shoot deer.”

The couple who were walking close to Mr Lockhart said they had seen the man remove his jacket and appear to attempt to hide the rifle on the ground once he was spotter.

The police were called to the area but found “no trace” of the alleged poacher.

Mr Lockhart said he is concerned that people enjoying the picturesque area could be in danger.

“It’s quite frightening to know a man is shooting with such a weapon in a public walking area,” he said.

“There’s a lot of walkers going around, I have been walking there quite a lot recently.

“If he’s firing a rifle that can go a few thousand yards then people could be in serious danger.”

Police say anyone who spots a suspected poacher should take pictures and videos and record all details of the incident without disturbing the scene.

If an animal has been killed then the carcass should not be removed. In fact, in the case of some protected species, carrying the carcass could be an offence.

Report any offences on 101 or via www.gmp.police.uk.