POLICE launched a large search after a man in a balaclava entered an elderly woman’s home and demanded she hand over cash.

The helicopter and a dog unit hunted for the crook after the incident in Newtimber Drive, Portslade, yesterday evening.

The helicopter continued to search into the night and was heard above the Hanover area of Brighton shortly before 11pm.

The man entered the house at about 6.30pm and confronted the woman, demanding money.

He then searched the house before snatching a packet of Blue Mayfair king size cigarettes and leaving.

Police were called and conducted “house-to-house enquiries” and searched the surrounding area for the man.

He is described as white and 5ft 9in tall, and was wearing a black puffer jacket, balaclava, beanie hat, leggings and woollen gloves.

He spoke with a southern accent.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Anyone with information about the incident is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 1247 of 20/01.”