MASKED robbers attacked an elderly couple during a terrifying raid at their Sunderland home.
Three knife-wielding thugs forced their way into the pensioners’ semi-detached house as they enjoyed a Saturday night in.
The cowardly trio threatened the 74-year-old woman before assaulting her 76-year-old husband.
The robbers then forced the couple to hand over a large amount of cash before fleeing the Prince’s Gardens property at about 8.40pm on Saturday.
The injured man was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where he needed staples for a gash to his head. His wife was shocked but unhurt.
Police yesterday stepped up patrols in the area and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward. While passers-by spoke of their shock that such a serious incident could take place in the area.
John Jackson, 38, of Seaburn, said: “This is a really nice area, and it’s quite busy so someone must have seen something. It’s terrible to think this kind of thing can happen to you in your own home.”
A 42-year-old woman from Hylton Castle, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s disgusting they would do that to anyone, especially two old people.”
Her friend, 41, from Roker, added: “I hope the police get hold of them and they get a proper punishment, not just a slap on the wrists.”
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Potts, who is leading the inquiry, said: “This was an extremely cowardly assault on an elderly couple in their own home. They have left the man with an injury to his head and his wife is extremely distressed.
“We are working to fully establish what has happened. This includes house to house and checking CCTV to find out if anyone saw anything suspicious.
“Someone will know who these three are. I’d urge anyone with information about who is responsible or who saw any suspicious people or vehicles in the area to get in touch with us.”
People walking their dogs on the nearby seafront were shocked to hear about the raid.
Chief Inspector Graham Watson, Sunderland Area Command, added: “We recognise that incidents such as this cause concern in the community and I’d like to reassure people that a dedicated team of detectives are investigating and doing all they can to trace the offenders.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.