A woman in her 90s was left shaken after a gang of thieves stole cash during a terrifying robbery at her south Belfast home.
One of them held the woman in her living room while the others searched for money.
Police said the elderly woman was left badly shaken by the |ordeal.
The thieves escaped with a sum of cash.
South Belfast SDLP councillor Bernie Kelly branded those |responsible as “thugs”.
“This is a dreadful incident, coming at a time when we all should be looking out for older people,” she said.
“Elderly people are very vulnerable at the moment because of the water crisis, and for an old lady to go through this ordeal must be terribly traumatic.
“It will have been a very frightening experience and my thoughts are with her.
“We, as councillors, are trying to make older people our top priority, and it is terrible to see these thugs take advantage of their |vulnerability.”
One of the most common fears people have is that someone will break into their home while they are sleeping.
Police advice is to take some simple steps to avoid a confrontation with an intruder, such as making enough noise to scare them away or hiding quietly and calling the police.
Keep your curtains drawn as a precaution, so that no-one can see who is in your home.
If you think someone is |outside then do not go and |investigate.
Keep yourself safe, keep the doors locked and call the police immediately on 999.
There is no correct course of action — use your judgment, but keep calm and do not take any |unnecessary risks.
It is a good idea to keep a phone in your bedroom so that you can call police if you need to.
One of the intruders is described as aged 17 or 18, of slim build and wearing a dark-coloured hooded jumper.
A second male was aged in his early 20s and wore a fawn-coloured hooded jumper and tracksuit trousers. The third male wore dark clothing.
Police in south Belfast have appealed for anyone with information on the attack to contact them on 0845 600 8000.