Irish gang hunted in UK after family's 'terrifying' ordeal
UK police are hunting an extremely violent gang of burglars from Ireland who smashed their way into a house in south-east London, sprayed a pensioner in the face with an unknown substance and then took an 11-year-old boy hostage.
The four raiders broke into the house on a private estate in Chislehurst at around 6.30pm on March 5, while the family was in the house.
After initially ringing the doorbell and getting no answer, they used a crowbar to smash their way into the detached property through the patio doors.
Once inside, one of the men grabbed an 11-year-old boy from the lounge and dragged him through the hallway to where the rest of the family was sitting.
Another member of the gang then squirted an 81-year-old man in the face with a liquid, believed at the time to be acid, before threatening the family with hammers and a crowbar.
The gang threatened extreme violence if the family did not tell them where their money and jewellery was kept.
As the gang searched the house, one of them grabbed a teenage girl and dragged her upstairs.
While the raid was going on, one of the victims was able to contact a family member, who then alerted police.
As soon as the suspects were aware that police had been called, they filled the girl's black school bag with various items of jewellery before running off and leaving the scene.
They are believed to have driven at speed away from the property in a silver-coloured Mercedes.
The suspects are described as four stocky white men, with Irish accents, aged in their mid-20s. They all wore matching Converse All-Star-style runners, baseball caps and puffa-style jackets.
Detectives believe the same group of men is responsible for a number of burglaries in the Chislehurst area in which the properties have all been broken into through the rear after the doorbell was rung.
"This was a terrifying burglary where a family were at home enjoying their evening and were threatened, and attacked, by four men who then stole their most valued possessions, which were of great sentimental value," said a police spokesman.
"We would urge anyone with information about this burglary to get in touch as soon as possible."