A TERRIFIED little girl was bound and gagged along with her mother and father when a masked gang burst into their luxury Cheshire home.
The incident mirrors two other incidents which occurred last month in the county, and detectives will today continue to try to establish possible links between the raids.
In all the cases, three men speaking with Merseyside accents and wearing balaclavas have been involved and each time the victims have been bound and gagged.
During the latest raid, which occurred in the village of Burton, the child and her parents were threatened by the gang, who were all carrying weapons.
The little girl's father was struck twice by one of the raiders who was wielding a length of wood.
The victim, who suffered shoulder injuries, was tied up along with his wife and child while the gang then ransacked their home. After searching the house, the men stole jewellery, credit cards and an unspecified amount of cash before then making their getaway in the family's own car.
The vehicle was later found abandoned in the car park of the Hinderton Arms in Neston.
Eventually, the family managed to struggle free and raise the alarm. The incident happened at 9pm on Friday evening.
One of the men is described as between 5ft 10in and 6ft tall and of muscular build. The second man was 5ft 9in tall and of medium build.
Both were wearing dark tracksuit tops and bottoms.
The third man was 5ft 7in tall and of stocky build. He was wearing dark clothing. All three were wearing dark gloves as well as balaclavas.
No-one at Cheshire Constabulary was prepared to release any further details about the incident yesterday.
Last month, an elderly couple were tied up in their home after three men burst into the property.
The raiders then fled with a variety of property from the house.
The incident occurred at Stamford Bridge, near Chester, and, although neither occupant was injured, both were said to have been greatly shocked by their ordeal.
And, just days later, a businessman and his wife were also gagged and bound by three masked men were forced their way into their home.
During that raid in Widnes, the gang escaped with jewellery and cash.
Similarly to the Burton incident, the gang in both the other raids also then fled in their victims' cars.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Det Sgt Shaw at Ellesmere Port CID on 01244-350000 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.