An elderly woman in Lancashire, aged 88, is recovering in a hospital after she was brutally assaulted by a man, suspected to be a burglar.

The shocking incident took place while she was asleep in her Aspen Garden, Chorley house on Saturday (26 August).

Police said that the elderly lady suffered a "brutal and sustained assault" while in her sleep. She was woken up at around 12.30am local time when she saw the man assaulting her and demanding money.

"The attacker pulled her from the bed and the assault continued. He also ransacked the house before making off," the police said in a statement.

Authorities have reportedly arrested the suspected burglar – a 35-year-old man from Chorley – on charges of aggravated burglary.

The accused reportedly fled the scene after wounding the woman, who then managed to crawl and reach her neighbour's house. The neighbours then alerted the police.

"This was a brutal and sustained assault on an elderly lady in her own home," Lancashire Police's Warren Atkinson said, according to the BBC.

"The level of gratuitous violence used on this vulnerable woman simply beggars belief and it is a miracle she was not more seriously injured."

He further said that the accused was nabbed with the help of alert residents of the area, who immediately responded to police calls for information.

The victim is being treated at Wigan Hospital for non-life threatening injuries, the police added.