Small children could be at risk from a missing 8ft boa constrictor snake, police have warned.

The reptile was reported missing from an address in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, shortly before 9.30pm yesterday.

Lancashire Constabulary said boa constrictors are not venomous and are not usually aggressive but the snake could pose a risk to small children or pets by wrapping itself around them to seek warmth.

Experts have advised that the reptile, which does not like noise, is likely to have gone to ground to find somewhere to sleep.

Inspector Mark Porter, of Skelmersdale Police, said: "While we do not believe the snake is aggressive or would attack anybody, there is the potential for risk to small children or pets from the animal seeking warmth. I would urge anyone who sees the snake to get in touch so that it can be recovered safely."

Anyone with information about the disappeance in Bearncroft, Skelmersdale should contact police on 101 quoting log number 1586 of July 22.