Published: 06:00, 16 September 2021
| Updated: 14:58, 16 September 2021
A couple were woken up at 4am to find a balaclava-clad burglar pointing a gun at them from the foot of their bed.
The break-in at their home was the fourth terrifying raid to have happened in the Weald in the space of a year.
Dressed all in black, the intruder pointed an automatic pistol at them before demanding their cash and jewellery.
The couple, aged 64 and 70, were forced to obey his order to turn over face down on the bed and he tied their wrists.
But although they complied with his demands, the man who burst into their Marden home still slammed the butt of the gun down several times over the husband's back, when the couple failed to answer quickly enough.
The man was left with severe bruising while the female victim also suffered bruising to her arms from her bonds.
The robber had gained access to the property in Thorn Road by smashing the glass of a French door at the back of the home.
He stole a Rolex Datejust 36MM Silver Strips Baton Dial watch, a Cartier watch, a Boodles Raindance Classic diamond ring, a pair of Links of London sterling silver stud earrings, in the shape of a horseshoe, and a silver charm necklace by Sif Jakobs, along with several hundred pounds in cash.
The gunman then left, leaving the couple still tied up on the bed.
The pair, believed to have lived in the village for the past 18 years, managed to free themselves and call the police.
Six armed officers and a dog unit arrived within 20 minutes but the offender had vanished.
The break-in happened on Sunday, September 5.
The suspect is described as around 5ft 10in and wore a black ski jacket, balaclava and black gloves, and was carrying a black rucksack.
His total haul was valued at just shy of £30,000.
The victims weren't seriously injured during the ordeal and are believed to have since had their home fitted with a state-of-the-art alarm system.
Detectives have carried out house-to-house inquiries and are examining residents' CCTV cameras for any clues.
A public footpath runs at the back of the victims' home and it is possible the thief arrived on foot rather than by vehicle.
The robbery is being investigated by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
Detectives remain keen to hear from anyone who may have dash-cam footage, or privately held CCTV, which was recorded in the general vicinity between 4am and 5am.
They would also like to hear from anyone who may have been offered items for sale which match the description of the stolen property.
The couple's terrifying ordeal is the latest in a series of violent home invasions to occur in the Weald.
In August last year, an armed burglar forced his way into another house in Marden and threatened the female occupant before stealing money, watches and jewellery.
Just days later an 80-year-old woman "thought she was going to die" when a masked burglar held a gun to her head during an evening raid on her home in Paddock Wood.
In March this year, another woman was left with her hands and legs bound after a gang of four men broke into her home in Clapper Lane, Staplehurst, before stealing jewellery, a watch, cash and two mobile phones.
Then in April, in perhaps the most horrific ordeal in Staplehurst Road, Frittenden, a woman in her 60s was left with bruising, a black eye and cuts to her face after she was beaten and cut with a knife, had a bottle of alcohol poured over her and was tormented by an intruder for hours, before being left tied up as he made off with only a small amount of cash.
She wasn't freed for two days and help only came when relatives called police saying they were worried about her.
Billy Williams, 29, from Ashford has been charged with aggravated burglary in connection with the last case. He remains in custody pending trial.
There have been no arrests in connection to the other three break-ins, which police are not treating as linked.
Anyone with information should call Kent Police on 01622 604100 quoting 46/166332/21.
You can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111 or by using the online form available here.