The masked men smashed their way into a house on Broadway, Royton, Oldham and threatened two women and a young girl inside with knives and crowbars. Google Streetview

Five masked men armed with knives and crowbars ripped an oxygen mask off a woman and punched another in the face during a terrifying robbery.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are investigating the crime in Royton, Oldham, which took place on Sunday (8 October) between 8.45pm and 9pm.

The force says the gang smashed its way into the house on Broadway, and threatened two women and a young girl, ransacking the property while two of the robbers stood guard.

As the search was taking place, one of the masked men grabbed one of the women and ripped an oxygen mask from her head that she was using to breathe.

The constabulary said that one of the women tried to help her but was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by the gang who were wearing balaclavas and dark clothing.

Detective Constable Zahir Hussain said, after he announced a major investigation: "Thankfully nobody sustained serious injury, but it could easily have been a very different story."

Officers say that the gang escaped with expensive jewellery, including a valuable Rolex watch and gold rings and warned that these items could be offered for sale illegally.

Det Con Hussain added according to the Manchester Evening News: "I would like to appeal to members of the public who have any information about what happened that night to please come forward.

"Broadway is a busy main road and it possible that people passing by at the time may have seen the offenders approaching the property or fleeing the scene.

"I would also ask that local businesses are on alert for anyone suspicious attempting to sell expensive jewellery, particularly a Rolex watch and gold rings."

Anybody with information can call Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting incident number 2149 of 08/10/17, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.