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27 June 2012, 06:28
A couple have been tied up in their house in Northumberland by masked men who then stole keys to their car and shop.
Police investigating the incident have found the car stolen during the raid.
The burglary happened at Capheaton on Tuesday (26th June) at approximately 11pm.
Three men wearing black balaclavas, and armed with what is believed to be an axe, forced their way into a house.
They threatened the occupants and demanded keys to their car and a jewellery shop, which is located a few miles away in Kirkharle Courtyard.
They then tied up the couple and ransacked their house, stealing credit cards and jewellery.
One of the intruders then made off from the house stealing the couple's car while the other two remained with the householders.
The two then left the house around 11.55pm. Neighbours then raised the alarm and contacted police at 12:05am.
The couple were shocked by the incident but did not need medical treatment.
Enquiries have shown that the lone offender who took the couple's car drove to a jewellery shop at Kirkharle Courtyard off the A696 near Belsay and stole an amount of jewellery.
The offenders are described as all men wearing black clothing, and black balaclavas.
One is described as 6 feet heavy build, and the two others both described as 5 feet 7" and of slight build. At least one of the men is believed to have a Scottish accent.
The stolen car was found abandoned in the Acomb area just before 7.30am this morning.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Bentham said:
"This incident has happened in a rural Northumberland village and we know local people will be concerned.
I want to reassure the public we are doing all we can to identify and track down those responsible. Aggravated burglaries of this nature and scale are incredibly unusual in our force area, and especially in rural Northumberland.
This has been a shocking incident for the victims. They have been left shaken and distressed by what has happened and are now recovering.
Investigations are currently underway and we believe this may have been a pre-planned and organised crime.
We are following up a number of lines of enquiry and are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen any suspicious people or vehicles in the Capheaton or Kirkharle area late last night or early this morning.
It may be that locals have noticed people acting suspiciously in Capheaton village or around Kirkharle before the offence occurred - even over the last few days or weeks - if so we would like to hear from them.
We found the couple's car abandoned in the Acomb area this morning and we are speaking to people there to see if they saw anything."
Officers are carrying out house to house enquiries in the Capheaton and Kirkharle areas to speak to and reassure residents. Any witnesses, or anyone with information, is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or to ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.