Thugs who terrorised a 78-year-old woman in her North-East home are being hunted by detectives.

Three men, wearing balaclavas burst into Irene Rzepozynski's home, in Wallsend, Newcastle, threw her into a chair, slapped her across the face and made off with £60 in cash.

Her ordeal began at about 8pm last Friday when she was confronted by the men.

She was forced into a chair where two of them held her down and repeatedly asked her for money, while the third robber searched her home.

She pulled an emergency alarm cord and then one of them slapped her across the face before they all escaped after stealing a pink cloth glasses case and her glasses, and £60 in cash.

All the men had local Tyneside accents and were believed to be in their late teens.

Mrs Rzepozynski was not seriously hurt but she was shocked and distressed.

A spokesman said: "This is a despicable crime against a vulnerable member of society."

Anyone with information can call CID on 0191-454 7555.