A 90-year-old widow woke to find her bedroom had been flooded by a vandal who passed a hosepipe through her window and left it spraying water for hours, police said today.

Officers investigating described the incident as ''appalling'' and ''malicious'', and said the victim now felt unsafe living on her own.

It happened sometime between midnight and 8am on Saturday in Grange Crescent, Marton, Middlesbrough.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said ''for no reason'' the vandal took a hosepipe from a neighbouring house and passed it through the open ground floor window of the victim's bedroom, then switched on the tap.

She said: ''The elderly lady lives alone and did not awake until after 8am to discover the hose was still turned on and her bedroom was flooded.

''This appalling incident has caused massive damage to the lady's house.

''She is distraught and she no longer feels safe.''

Pc Lee Rose said: ''The lady has lived in this house for many years and unfortunately now lives alone due to the death of her husband.

''Even though she has family who stay regularly, she now feels extremely vulnerable and afraid.

''I would ask if anyone knows who has done this to contact police.

''I would welcome any information, no matter how small, so that the offenders can be put before a court of law to answer for this terrible act of mindless vandalism.''

Anyone with information is asked to call 01642 303126.