A WOMAN in her late 90s forced a burglar to flee after she caught him stealing cash from her home.

The Askam-in-Furness resident challenged the offender after he broke into her Steel Street home sometime between 1.30pm and 2.30pm yesterday afternoon.

"Whilst the victim, who is in her late 90s, has been in the back garden of the property the offender has gained entry via the front door and gone into the victim's bedroom," explained a spokesman for Cumbria Police.

The woman entered the downstairs of the property and moved up to her bedroom where she saw the offender.

"The victim challenged the offender on her stair landing and the offender has fled on foot with a large quantity of cash," said the spokesman.

The man is described as aged in his 30s or 40s, around 6ft tall, clean-shaven with short fair-coloured hair.

He was wearing a blue 'business-type' jacket and was carrying a clipboard.

Detective Inspector Amanda Sadler added: "This is an absolutely despicable crime. The victim is obviously very shaken up but is being supported by friends and family.

"I have a team working hard to find the offender and we urge anyone witnesses to come forward or know of anyone who has suddenly come into a substantial quantity of cash."

Anybody with information is asked to contact police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.