THIEVES swooped to steal expensive cars from the driveways of two homes while their owners were asleep.

The raiders struck at houses in Harwood and Bradshaw less than one mile apart, between late Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning.

They took a black Volkswagen Golf R worth more than £18,000 together with a black Audi valued at about £7,000, from the front of Sean and Melissa Woodward’s home in Patterdale Road, Harwood.

The vehicles were stolen between 11pm on Sunday and 6am on Monday.

And they also struck at Sue Cooke’s home in Bradshaw, stealing a silver Honda Civic type R thought to be worth around £10,000 from outside a property in Hulme Road between 2am and 8am on Monday.

They stole a metallic Ford Focus RS worth about £35,000, from the front of the property, but ditched it just around the corner after the immobiliser prevented them from driving it off.

The thieves burgled the houses to snatch the car keys.

Mrs Woodward said the fact the burglars had been in her house while she slept was more disturbing than the theft of the vehicles.

She said: “That’s the frightening bit, the cars are possessions you can replace, but it’s the fact someone has been in the house.

“I was up with our puppy at 1.30am. What happens if I come across someone in the house, what am I expected to do? What if they attack me?

“If they take the cars, they take the cars — they are both insured — but someone in my house definitely worries me. And it worries me that it’s happening in Harwood. It's meant to be one of the nicest areas in Bolton, but it’s not at the moment.”

The 29-year-old sales engineer, added that she felt the thefts were targeted and organised rather than opportunist.

“I think it’s most likely they have conspired, they have sussed us out and seen things before, rather than just trying to get into the the house or the cars. It’s not just an opportunist, it’s something more than that.

“Sean’s Golf is worth about £18,000 and I think they have come for that, it’s a high-spec, fast car. I think they have just taken the A3 because it was next to it.

"The police have been round and said they are being bombarded with these now, they’re not just taking one at a time, they’re taking two off people’s drives.”

Mrs and Mrs Woodward remain baffled as to how the thieves were able to gain entry to their house and snatch their car keys.

But at Mrs Cooke’s home in Hulme Road the thieves removed an entire door panel. Once inside the property they removed a key safe and the two-foot tall wooden unit to which it was bolted, to get the keys.

The unit was later retrieved from a nearby stream.

Mrs Cooke said: “I’m still shaking, because clearly they were in the house while we were asleep. Funnily enough I did wake up and thinking someone was in the house, but then I heard my husband, who had got up to go to the bathroom. But whether there was something before then, or even then, I don’t know.”

And the 62-year-old retiree also feels she and her husband had been targeted by organised criminals.

She said: “If it was opportunist they would have given up and taken anything they could get hold of, but they have not done that. It’s clearly a professional job.”

The registration marks of the silver Honda Civic type R stolen from outside Mrs Cooke's home in Hulme Road, Bradshaw is PJ61 DZO.

Mr and Mrs Woodward's black Volkswagen has the registration R27 SDW, while the black Audi A3's registration mark is MW11 WSL.

Anyone with information about the thefts should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111. Quote 294 18/09/17 for the thefts in Patterdale Road and 403 18/09/17 for the theft in Hulme Road.