Two masked men entered a property in McErlane Square, a sheltered housing complex in Pelaw, Gateshead, at about 9.30am yesterday, and threatened the occupants with a knife.
A number of items were stolen before the pair fled, leaving the couple terrified..
One of the intruders was 6ft tall and slim, while the other was about 5ft 6 and stocky. Both had their faces covered.
The couple were left incredibly distressed and are being supported by specialist police officers.
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Detective Inspector Angela Hufton of Northumbria Police said: "An investigation has been launched and we have detectives carrying out inquiries.
"Officers are in the area carrying out house-to-house inquiries and viewing CCTV to help us identify the people responsible.
"We are treating this as an isolated incident at this time, and additional officers will be in the area to reassure the community and conduct inquiries.”
Police want to speak to anyone who saw anyone or anything unusual, or who has any information about the incident.
If you can help, call 101, quoting log 217 01/03/18, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.