A GRANDMOTHER is living in fear — after “cowardly burglars” smashed their way into her home with a garden ornament.

CCTV footage from the home in Dove Bank, Little Lever, caught three men in garden of owner Margaret Howcroft’s home.

Two of the men, who were wearing balaclavas, are seen breaking into the home through a window. Mrs Howcroft, a widow, was not in at the time.

Her son Nick Howcroft, aged 47, said: “It is gruesomely shocking. If my mother had been there she could have had a heart attack.

“These people do not care that somebody elderly could have been there. They are cowards.

"A burglary involves so many people getting scared and frightened. It has a big impact on people.”

One of the raiders is believed to have been keeping a look out for his two accomplices. The men made off with jewellery.

Retired secretary Mrs Howcroft is still going through her belongings to see what has been stolen.

The family has boarded up the smashed window and will improve security at the home.

Mr Howcroft, from Little Lever, owner of Henighans pubs, added: “My mum has lived there for 50 years and has never had any problems other than the garage being broken into last year.

“I think these people have been watching the house. We would like to thank the people of Little Lever. Everybody is looking out for us and sharing the CCTV footage.”

He said he will give a reward to anyone who can provide information that will lead to a conviction of the people responsible.

The break-in happened on Tuesday at about 11.45am.

Police confirmed the incident had been reported. No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.