Masked men stole jewellery belonging to the late wife of an 88-year-old man after barging their way in and ransacking his house.
County police have released an appeal for witnesses on behalf of Bedfordshire Police, which is investigating the burglary in Pertenhall on the Northamptonshire/Bedfordshire border on Friday (January 10).
The elderly victim answered a knock at the door at about 6.30pm, thinking a neighbour was calling on him.
But when he opened the door, he was confronted by three men who barged into the house with their faces covered.
They ushered him into his lounge where one of the offenders remained with him saying he would be unharmed if he did as he was told.
The other two searched bedrooms upstairs and stole jewellery belonging to his late wife.
The stolen items included a wedding and engagement rings and a gold watch.
The man was not physically hurt but shaken by the incident.
The offenders left the scene in a dark coloured vehicle which was waiting along Kimbolton Road for them.
They then made off in the direction of Keysoe.
Det Con Kevin Howes said: “This is an appalling offence on a defenceless member of the public and the police would like to speak to anyone with information or who can assist in any way.
“We want to alert the public to be cautious when answering the door, particularly during the hours of darkness.
“If you live near an older person or have an elderly relative, encourage them to ask questions beforehand to identify visitors before unlocking or opening the door.
“Often, we find it is alert neighbours that prevent burglaries happening when they spot unfamiliar vehicles or people acting suspiciously and call the police immediately.
“If we can send someone out quickly then we can often catch these criminals.”
Anyone with inforamtion about the robbery can call Det Con Howes direct on 01234 275356, text the Bedfordshire Police force control room direct on 07786 200011 or call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.