A GANG of masked men crashed through a window and forced an elderly lady to hand over £20,000 in both cash and gold, it has been revealed.

The elderly woman was home alone when three thugs, wearing balaclavas, destroyed her patio window and burst inside.

One of the men cornered the resident while the others ransacked the house in Water Road, Tilehurst.

They escaped shortly after midnight on Wednesday, taking £20,000 in cash and around £20,000 in gold.

A police spokesman said: "Thames Valley Police is appealing for information after a significant amount of high value gold jewellery was stolen from a home in Water Road in Tilehurst on Wednesday.

"Three men wearing balaclavas entered the home just before midnight. The homeowner, an elderly woman, was at home at the time. One of the men stayed with her while the other two searched the house.

"They took £20,000 is cash and gold jewellery also worth £20,000."

All three men were dressed in black.

Police confirmed the woman was not injured during the incident.

Investigating officer, detective constable Timothy Lloyd from Reading Force CID, said: "We are appealing for witnesses to this incident. A significant amount of gold jewellery was taken along with a lot of cash and I believe someone knows who is responsible.

"I would also like to hear from any neighbours in the area who saw or heard anything around midnight last night, specifically any suspicious people or vehicles in or near to Water Road, as well as anyone who may have been offered gold jewellery for sale in unusual circumstances."

If you have any information relating to this case, call 101 quoting reference '43180148304', or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.