POLICE are hunting knife-wielding raiders who burst into a Sunderland home leaving the occupants terrified.
Three men targeted the house in Thelma Street, off Chester Road, on Friday night, thought to be occupied by three Sunderland University students from China.
The residents were threatened with knives before the thieves fled through the backyard with laptops and mobile phones at about 7.30pm. They were left shocked but unhurt.
Neighbours today told of their shock at the attack.
Neighbour John Philbin, 61, has himself been burgled in the past and blamed poor lighting in the back lanes for offenders being able to make off unseen.
The scaffolder said: “There are no lights in the lane, so they can walk along the back and see straight into the houses. Students live in there so they know they will have computers and laptops.
“These students are coming to Sunderland to go to college and it is probably the last thing they think is going to happen.
“It’s such a shame at Christmas. It’s a disgrace that they break into people’s houses this time of year.
“They came into ours a few years ago, they were never caught and it’s not just what they take, it’s the after-effects that you have to live with.”
Police have issued descriptions of the men as part of an appeal to bring them to justice. One of them is described as wearing a dark blue jacket with yellow writing and white Adidas trainers.
The second is described as being of stocky build, wearing a dark blue anorak. A third man was wearing dark clothing.
Police have conducted door-to-door inquiries and posted letters to neighbours, appealing for information.
“An investigation is underway to identify the people responsible for this incident,” Sergeant Graeme Flaxen said.
“Local officers are out and about in the area to support the investigation and provide reassurance.
“This is incident happened at a busy time of night and there will have been lots of people around in the area.
“We are asking for anyone who recognises the descriptions or saw anything suspicious in the area at the time to contact police.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 ext 69191 – quoting reference 1064 201213 – or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.