POLICE are seeking thieves who robbed a Bishop Auckland woman in a New Year hoax.

Detectives at Bishop Auckland hope to trace the couple, who left their 38-year-old victim hurt and frightened by her ordeal.

The pair, a man aged about 30 and a woman in her late-teens who both smelled of alcohol, called at a house in Archer Avenue in the early hours of January 2.

They knew her first name and persuaded her to come to the door by claiming they wanted to wish her a happy New Year. They forced their way in and demanded money, becoming violent when the woman resisted.

She was pushed to the floor and kicked so hard that she is still in pain. The couple searched her home and left with £100.

A spokeswoman for Bishop Auckland CID said yesterday that the victim was still distressed.

She said: "This is an unusual crime. We don't remember anything like this before. It was bad, but it could have been a lot worse.

"We are hoping we can jog people's memories and that they will come forward with more information."

The man was 6ft, white and chubby. He had long brown hair tied back in a pony tail and a brown moustache. He had a tattoo on his left arm and a blue ink mark or tattoo on a finger on his right hand.

He wore Dr Martens or similar-styled boots, a blue Adidas top, dark jeans, a gold watch and gold rings on every finger.

The woman was also white, aged about 19 and 5ft 3in. She had shiny black hair cut short in a bob and wore a ring through her nose.

Her skirt was black and her top was blue and she wore the same type of heavy boots. She carried a black shoulder bag.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Bishop Auckland CID on (01388) 603566.