Detectives are hunting a gang who impersonated the police to rob a woman at her Belfast home after tying her to a radiator.
The victim’s ordeal began after a man claiming to be a police officer called at the door of a house in the Connsbrook Avenue area in the east of the city at about 1.30am yesterday.
He told the householder he needed to access the back of her property, walked through the house and opened the back door letting in three men, who were wearing baseball caps and had scarves covering their faces.
The gang then tied the woman, who is in her 20s, to a radiator before searching the house and leaving with a set of keys.
The victim did not want to speak publicly about her terrifying ordeal when the Belfast Telegraph called at the home yesterday.
At the house last night a family friend said they were liaising with police and would not be making any comment at this stage.
It is understood the victim had moved into the quiet area about 18 months ago. Neighbours said they were shocked to hear about the robbery.
One homeowner, who did not wish to be identified, said: “I woke up in the morning and there were police everywhere.
“I have lived here for 25 years and there has never been anything like that.
“It’s such a small street. It is worrying.”
DUP councillor for east Belfast, May Campbell, said bogus callers were becoming a worrying trend in the area.
“It’s shocking that this sort of thing is happening more and more where people are being deceived by callers,” she said.
“What do you do? How vigilant can you be if someone is saying they are something they are not.
“The trauma experienced in this case must be dreadful.
“They need more police on the ground.
“The police are so limited at the minute, they are trying to do their best with the limited resources that they have.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the PSNI said they were appealing for witnesses.
She said: “Anyone who may have any information about the incident or who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the Connsbrook Avenue area around this time to contact detectives at Musgrave Street on 0845 600 8000.
“Information can also be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity by calling 0800 555 111.”