An 81-year-old pensioner was attacked by a man who broke into his bedroom in the middle of the night and woke him up to demand he hand over cash.
In nightmarish scenes, the victim awoke to discover the fiend in his bedroom some time before 5am.
He then made a series of threats to the elderly man, demanding he hand over cash before going on to attack him.
Police believe the OAP was held captive for around an hour and a half while the intruder was in the house.
But despite subjecting his victim to a terrifying ordeal, the offender left empty-handed.
He fled after concerned neighbours, who heard a disturbance, called police.
The victim was left with bruises to his face and right leg and was taken to hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery.
Police searched the area but the offender had vanished.
The sickening attacked happened on Monday, June 15 at a house in Whittle Street, Toll Bar. St Helens.
Police have described the suspect as a white man, around 5ft 7ins tall, of slim build who spoke with a local accent. He was wearing a dark top, black plimsoll-style footwear with a white rim around them, and brown or black gloves.
It is believed the offender got into the house by breaking a window at the back of the property.
Now detectives are appealing for help catching the callous criminal behind what they are calling a “highly unusual incident”.
Det Insp Paul Unsworth said: “We are still piecing together what happened. The victim is quite elderly and is understandably upset so we are giving him time before we speak to him in any great detail about what he saw and heard.
“Nothing has been stolen but the offender did make demands and I am keen to hear from neighbours and people who were out and about at that early hour of the morning.
“I want to reassure local people that we are taking this incident extremely seriously and will do everything we can to catch the person responsible.”
Anyone with information can call detectives at St Helens CID on 0151 777 6811 or 6013 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.