POLICE are hunting a gang of knife-wielding masked raiders who attacked a family in their home and stole thousands of pounds.
The four men smashed through the front door of a property in Redworth village, near Newton Aycliffe, as a couple watched television.
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They demanded money from the 50-year-old man and one gang member repeatedly punched him in the face and threatened his wife with a knife.
The terrifying raid, which lasted less than a minute, took place in front of one of the couple’s young children, who had been woken by the incident.
Detective Inspector Phil Curtis, from Darlington CID, said the robbery was calculated, with the gang using a specialist tool to force down the door. He said: “This was a quite brutal attack and the gang had no hesitation in assaulting the victim.
“It was their intention to immediately get the homeowners on the backfoot and then demand the money.
“We believe the family has been targeted with those responsible having information telling them that there could be money in the home.
“Unfortunately, the couple’s two children were in the house and one of them, who is under 11-years-old, witnessed some of the attack.
“They went with an enforcer to break down the door and the man was punched several times in the face before the gang made off with between £6,000 and £7,000.
“This whole incident has left the entire family very badly shaken.”
Det Insp Curtis said the men were seen driving away from the scene of the robbery, which took place at about 9.30pm on Monday, in a maroon Jeep Cherokee.
He said the 50-year-old victim had been treated at Darlington Memorial Hospital for facial injuries, but has since been released.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Northern Echo the incident had left people in Redworth in shock.
She said: “All we know in the village is that the gang carried out the attack in front of one of their children to take the money, and that is just a despicable thing to do.
“Whoever did this are absolute
“You certainly don’t expect anything like this to happen in a place like Redworth.
“Normally we can hear the police cars and ambulances which come through the village, but we heard nothing on that night.”
Det Insp Curtis moved to reassure its residents that the attack was an isolated incident and the village was safe.
He said: “This sort of crime is very rare and we don’t believe this to be a random attack.
“We have a number of lines of inquiry that we are working on to find those responsible and are very keen to speak with anyone who may have any information.”
Anyone who can help is asked to call 101 and ask for Det Insp Curtis at Darlington CID. Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.