A dad has described the terrifying moment a gang of masked men attacked members of his family with a hammer during a robbery.

Thousands of pounds in cash and precious gold jewellery was seized in the raid.

It is the latest in a string of robberies where large amounts of gold have been stolen from families in Southampton.

Police say they are not directly linking it to other robberies at this stage, but have refused to rule it out.

Members of the family spoke exclusively to the Daily Echo about their ordeal, which unfolded on Wednesday.

The family, who are too afraid to be named, were getting ready for bed at their home in Bitterne when their ordeal began.

The 58-year-old father was at home with his wife, also 58, and two sons, aged 29 and 33.

The dad said: “We were all in our bedrooms watching television at about 10.30pm when we heard a massive bang.

“We all wondered what had happened, but we later discovered the bottom panel of the back door had been kicked in.

“One of my sons went out on to the landing to see what was going on, and he was hit by a man who ran up the stairs.”

The father says there were two or three attackers, who were dressed in black and wore balaclavas.

He said they herded the family into a bedroom and punched him and his sons.

His youngest son was hit on the head and hand with a claw hammer. All three were later treated for minor injuries by paramedics.

The dad continued: “They asked me where our money was, and I said I didn’t have any so they hit me.

“I thought about trying to defend myself, but my wife was worried they would really hurt us, so I handed it over.”

He gave the robbers a bag containing shop takings worth up to £5,000, and they also seized family jewellery worth another £5,000.

The men then fled, before getting on motorbikes outside the house and speeding away.

The dad continued: “We think it was pre-planned.

“One of our neighbours said they had seen a man in black hanging around earlier in the day.

“We’ve been living here for nine years and nothing like this has ever happened before.

“For men to come and break into your own house and threaten you is terrifying.

“It was quite an ordeal.”

Detectives are now appealing for witnesses in their bid to find the gang.

Detective Constable Rob Dawson, of Bitterne police, said: “This type of crime is very unusual, and the homeowners understandably have been shaken up by the incident.

“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area, who may have seen or heard anything usual to contact me at Bitterne Police Station on 101.”

It follows a string of recent thefts where Asian families have been targeted by thieves who have stolen jewellery worth thousands of pounds.

Detective Sergeant Will Whale said officers were not currently directly linking the latest raid to the previous thefts or any other incident, but he added: “We are keeping an open mind with the investigations and are looking into all possibilities.”

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