A GANG of youths have set up a "comfortable" drinking den at a Baxenden beauty spot.
Police are investigating after witnesses complained of teenagers using the woods behind The Hollins Technology College as a late-night meeting place.
Residents claim the group regularly cuts down parts of trees before setting them alight for a camp fire as they sit around and drink on land close to a derelict building near a disused allotment.
Community wardens covering Baxenden swooped on the group in the den last month but, according to one of the wardens, the teenagers ran off via a well thought-out escape route.
The warden said they had been congregating in the wooded area with seats, candles and firewood.
Police said they have not found any felled trees but would keep an eye on the area for any further incidents.
They appealed for anyone with information to get in touch with them on 353103.
Sergeant Bob Eaton said: "Kids have been sheltering in a derelict building on a disused allotment. The owner of the property has not made a complaint and is aware of the safety issues.
"Further behind Hollins School there is the remains of a small campfire in a natural den in the trees.
"We do not condone starting small fires even in remote green areas.
"This is not, however, a criminal investigation, so we will simply keep a quiet eye on matters to make sure that they do not get out of hand."
Baxenden ward councillor John Griffiths said: "We do not want kids making fires.
"Of course, it is right that they should have somewhere to go to spend time with their friends but I cannot condone them starting fires. There is an obvious safety threat. Fires can be very dangerous, especially in a wooded area where the flames can spread quickly.
"The police will be keeping an eye out but it is very difficult for them to catch those responsible unless they happen to be there at the same time as the group."