A STUDENT today told how masked raiders burst into his home and held him and his friends at knifepoint, before stealing thousands of pounds worth of goods from the property.
The 25-year-old Malaysian man, who is studying pharmacy at Sunderland University, was at his home in The Retreat, off Chester Road, when the armed raiders struck.
The gang came in through the back door of the terraced home, before forcing the student and the three people he shares the property with to wait downstairs while they stole three laptops, two mobile phones, an iPad Mini and cash.
The haul is believed to be worth £3,000.
Police have put extra officers on patrol in the area to reassure residents.
The student, who spoke to the Echo, has been living in Sunderland for the past three years.
The man, who did not want to be named, said: “I don’t feel safe here.”
“I was doing my homework when they came in.
“They all had masks on so you could only see their eyes and one had a knife.
“They told us to stay in the living room.
“They told me they were coming to search for drugs because they’d been told there were some in the house.”
While two of the men held the students downstairs, another went up to grab the items. Although none of the raiders assaulted the students, the 25-year-old was threatened as he tried to get out of the downstairs living room.
“I tried to get up, but when I did the man with the knife pointed it at me and ordered me to sit down,” said the third-year student.
“I just did as I was told, but when they left I chased after them and saw them get away in a car.
“When I first came to the UK I thought it was a really safe place, but after this, I don’t think it is.”
A female student, 21, who lives just a few doors along in The Retreat, said: “It doesn’t surprise me because we had someone trying to break into a house at 6am in the morning last week.
“The police came out and we’ve got friends keeping an eye on the place when we aren’t in.”
Detective sergeant Simon Auty, from Northumbria Police’s major crime team, said: “Our inquiries into this incident are continuing.
“Detectives are following all lines of enquiry to trace those responsible.
“Thankfully, no-one was hurt, but this was a frightening experience for those involved.
“I’d urge anyone who saw any suspicious activity around the address before or after the burglary to come forward.
“Anyone who may have been offered the stolen items for sale should also contact us.
“We know this will have caused concern among residents in the area.
“We have officers on patrol to provide reassurance and I’d urge people to speak to them with any worries they may have.”
l Police are also hunting two men who threatened a householder with a knife before making off with his property.
Raiders knocked on the door of a house in Lynthorpe, Sunderland, at about 9.08am on Saturday. When the victim – in his 20s – answered, they forced their way into the house and one threatened him with a knife.
The victim suffered a minor injury and was left shaken after the incident.
The two men were white, both 6ft tall and of medium build, and aged about 29 or 30. One was wearing dark jeans and a navy hooded top, and had a blue scarf covering his mouth and nose.
The other was wearing blue jogging bottoms and a blue tracksuit top.
Witnesses to that burglary can contact police on 101, extension 69191 quoting log number 482 18/10/14.
Witnesses to the Retreat burglary can call the same number quoting 1444 19/10/14.
Alternatively, people can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.