POLICE are hunting knife-wielding crooks who smashed through a front door and punched a man in the face after raiding his home.

The two suspects, one armed with a knife, broke into a home in Herongate, Shoebury, at about 3.45am on Saturday, where they viciously set upon the man.

When our reporter attended the scene glass shards could still be seen strewn in front of the terrace house.

Reinforced plywood had been used to board up the smashed door.

Residents, who wish to remain anonymous, told how they heard shouting and loud banging that sounded like “someone slamming a car door” at the time of the attack.

One resident said: “I can’t believe it happened just over the road there, I had my window open all night so the cat could come and go.

“I’ll never leave it open again. We don’t know the people who live there, they haven’t been there for very long.

“How does it make me feel with this kind of thing happening so close to my home? It makes me feel nervous.”

Another resident added: “I saw them boarding the front door up, there was glass on the floor, and the police were here carrying out surveillance yesterday.”

Police describe the first suspect as white, 5ft 10ins tall, aged 20-30, of large build, wearing a black hooded top, black tracksuit bottoms and gloves.

The second is also white and of a similar height. He wore a red hooded top, black trousers and black gloves and was well built.

The occupants, a man and a woman were at home – the man was punched in the face.

Another resident added: “I just heard these really loud voices early in the morning when it was still dark.

“I didn’t want to go and see what was going on because it could have been a domestic argument.

“I can’t believe there was a knife involved, we’ve never had anything like that before here.

“I guess the loud banging must have been them forcing their way through the door.”

Essex Police is appealing for witnesses. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Southend CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.