A pub manager and his son almost found themselves face to face with a hammer-wielding raider who ransacked a Hetton pub.
The raid at The New Inn, in Hetton, yesterday happened just days after manager Mark Hardy suffered the heartbreaking loss of his beloved mother.
And Mr Hardy fears he could have come face to face with the intruder who broke into the pub just an hour before Mark returned with his 13-year-old son, Harrison.
CCTV footage of a man, who is wearing a cap, smashing the gaming machine at the pub has now been shared following the incident which Mr Hardy says happened just after 2am on Thursday morning.
Mr Hardy, who manages and lives at the Hetton pub, discovered the damage when he returned home after attending a late-night showing at the cinema with his son.
He said: "The person who broke in obviously knew his way around a gaming machine and how to break into it.
"He also smashed both bar tills and stole floats from them luckily we don't keep cash on the premises other than basic floats but it's the inconvenience and the fact it's also my home.
"My son and I went into the bar area one hour after it happened.
"I can't even begin to imagine what may of happened if we were an hour earlier with a thug intruder wielding a hammer.
"Myself and my son have been through enough of late with losing my mother just the day before the break in.
"For my son to have been subject to that would of been very detrimental to him. Not only has he just lost his 'big nana' he's still dealing with the loss of his mother recently too.
"These people who break on to people's businesses or people's homes need to be dealt with via the authorities harshly once caught so they realise this is unacceptable behaviour and unwanted in a generally nice community.
"In general we have some lovely customers of all age groups in the community and it's very sad that a small minority are wanting to spoil the hard work we are putting in to offer a warm friendly venue with great food, entertainment and specialty drinks and a newly refurbished restaurant and beer garden."
No one has been arrested and an investigation is now underway to trace the intruder.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "At about 3.25am yesterday morning (Thursday) police received a report of a burglary at The New Inn on Four Lane Ends in Hetton-le-Hole.
"It is believed the burglary has taken place at between 6.30pm on Wednesday and 3.15am on Thursday when intruders have forced entry to the pub and attempted to steal cash from the till and a games machine.
"Inquiries into the burglary are ongoing but nobody has been arrested.
"Anyone with information about the burglary, or anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area of the pub on Wednesday evening, is asked to call police on 101 quoting log 81 25/04/19.