TWO ELDERLY COUPLES were left badly shaken after their homes were burgled by a gang of masked men.
Police in Down are investigating a link between the two incidents which happened within 35 minutes of each other on Monday night and which had a number of similarities.
In the first case in Castlewellan, five masked men entered the house at around 7.40pm and threatened the 76-year-old woman and 75-year-old man who lived there. One of the trespassers was armed with a screwdriver.
Two of the gang stayed with the occupants while the others searched the house, but the five left empty-handed.
Just over half an hour later, five masked men, one of whom was armed with a screwdriver, entered a house at Loughside Drive around 13 kilometres away and confronted the family living there.
The elderly couple – an 80-year-old woman and a 76-year-old man – along with man in his 40s believed to have been their son were kept in a downstairs bedroom by one of the gang while the others searched the property.
A second man in his 40s who had been in an upstairs bedroom was brought downstairs and held with the rest of the family when he was discovered by intruders.
The gang made off with an undisclosed sum of cash after searching the house.
All five intruders had their faces hidden with scarves and wore baseball caps. One of them spoke with an English accent.
The PSNI have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.