Four people bound and beaten in horrific hold-up ordeal in Northern Ireland
Terror came to a quiet suburb when five armed and masked men broke into a house on a private estate and tied up the residents before robbing them.
The thugs - one with a baton and another carrying a suspected firearm - forced their way into the property in Carryduff on Wednesday evening.
They assaulted a terrified young man and woman who were inside the house before tying them up.
As the criminals ransacked the home, another man and woman called at the door and were assaulted and tied up by the gang members, who made off with a sum of cash.
All four victims, who were treated at the scene by paramedics, were aged between 18 and their early 20s, a police spokesman said.
The attack is believed to have taken place in the Muskett area of Carryduff, but last night people in the area who spoke to the Belfast Telegraph said they had seen and heard nothing.
"I heard about it on the radio at tea-time," explained a charity canvasser who did not want to be named.
"I've been calling around these streets for more than five years, and I've never heard of anything like this happening around here before."
Local politicians told of a climate of fear in the tranquil residential streets of the south Belfast suburb, where the city gives way to the fields of Co Down.
South Castlereagh Alliance councillor Vasundhara Kamble told the Belfast Telegraph: "This is very scary - very traumatic.
"Local people are very angry about incidents like this. They are happening too often. The police should be more active against these kinds of crimes. Something must be done. People are scared - I'm scared."
Speaking last night near the scene of the incident, local DUP councillor Nathan Anderson condemned the vicious burglary - and the criminals who carried it out. "This attack is very shocking for the whole community," he said. "Carryduff is a very peaceful area. Community relations here are very good, and this attack is completely out of the ordinary.
"The whole community have come together and united in revulsion towards this despicable act. This is not representative of our community. Many people are distraught, and some of them are very worried about the whole situation.
"The incident in very disturbing, not only for the victims, but also for elderly people who live in the area."
Mr Anderson explained that while house burglaries were not unknown in the area, they have in the past tended to be opportunistic.
However, Wednesday's attack, which involved five men, marked a new low, he added.
"With so many burglaries going on in the area, some people are wondering if this kind of thing is the next step - an escalation," he said.
"I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the people who have been caught up in this shocking incident.
"And I would appeal to anyone with information to contact the PSNI immediately, so that these criminals can be brought to justice."
The DUP councillor additionally called on local residents to remain vigilant in the wake of the terrifying aggravated burglary.
His advice to householders was to increase their security and ensure that all doors and windows were locked.
The PSNI, meanwhile, last night issued an urgent appeal for information about the burglary and urged anyone who knows anything to come forward.
Detective Inspector Cummings said that anyone with any information that may be able to assist the investigation into the incident should contact detectives at Lisburn Police Station on 101, quoting the reference number 1304 of 20/07/16.
Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can disclose what they know to the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.