MASKED raiders threatened to mutilate a grandmother after they forced their way into her home and stole thousands of pounds in cash and jewellery.
Three balaclava-clad men burst into Sylvia Everett and Harry Carrick’s bungalow in Laburnman Grove in Cleadon Village at about 6.10pm on Saturday.
The tied the terrified elderly couple up and covered Mrs Everett’s head with a pillowcase.
They then threatened to chop off the 75-year-old’s fingers, ears and hands, unless they were told where the couple’s safe was.
Mrs Everett said: “It’s horrific what we’ve been through, I am totally in shock. I don’t swear, but they are absolute scum.”
Mr Carrick was dragged through the house by the thugs during the ordeal.
Mrs Everett added: “What kind of person threatens to cut someone’s ears and fingers off? I felt like saying to them ‘would you like someone doing this to your mother?’
“I honestly thought they were going to cut us up and put our bodies in a zipped holdall that they had with them.”
The couple, who have lived in the bungalow for almost 20 years, were relaxing in their lounge when their ordeal began.
Shouting ‘shut up and sit down’ the gang’s leader pushed a pillow case over Mrs Everett’s head. Mr Carrick, a 78-year-old father-of-two, had been discharged from hospital on Thursday after treatment for a lung virus and the couple begged the raiders to keep former gold trader and engineering boss’s head free as he struggled to breath.
Mrs Everett, who used to own a post office in Nottingham, before selling up in the early 90s, said: “They forced both our heads down and one of them told me to shut up or he’d cut my fingers off. He said they knew we had a safe and wanted to know where it was.
“They dragged Harry into the hallway. Initially we said we didn’t have one but Harry said ‘Sylvia just give them the key’.
“They then used a crowbar to get access to the safe which had money in from when I sold my post office.”
The raiders ransacked the couple’s bedroom – taking about £25,000 worth of jewellery – and also found a quantity of cash the couple had put aside to buy a new car.
Mrs Everett said: “Then they came back in for us, ripped off my three necklaces and watch, and wanted the gold bangles on my arm, but they’ve been on my arm for 25 years and they’re stuck.
“The main thug told me to get them off or he’d chop off my hand, so I just held out my hand and said you’ll have to chop it off then. Thank God he didn’t.”
The traumatised couple were then told to stay in the corridor, as two of the men left with and one stayed behind, threatening to slice off Mrs Everett’s ears if they made a sound.
Finally the pair were left alone and managed to set off the bungalows’ alarm system and dial 999.
Police arrived and sealed off the area as members of the dog unit searched nearby streets.
Mrs Everett said: “This is the fifth time we’ve been burgled. I don’t understand why this keeps on happening to us.”
A spokesman from Northumbria Police said: “We are investigating an aggravated burglary in which an elderly couple were tied up and threatened after three men forced their way into their home.
“A large amount of cash and jewellery was taken and our investigations are continuing.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on the 101 non-emergency number.