A 64-year-old woman has revealed how she managed to fight off two burglars who were in cahoots with her cleaner.
She put up such stout resistance that although the gang escaped with more than £30,000-worth of jewellery, they did not take valuable items that she was wearing.
Barnet police have warned other householders to beware of the gang, thought to be Romanians and believed to have carried out other burglaries in the area.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said that on the day of the burglary, the cleaner, Maria, had been "on the phone a lot. I was in my husband's office when I thought I heard low male voices.
"When I came out, I asked Maria about it. She said I was mad. But I went to go back to the office and there were the two men. One grabbed me round the neck and the other tried to tie my feet with sticking tape.
"But I screamed and then fought. I kicked and pinched anything within reach.
"I scratched one down the face. They were hitting me in the face and the woman was hitting me from the side. I didn't even feel anything but they gave me a black eye and a bloody nose."
She continued screaming after the raiders tied her feet together. "The woman was in charge and told them what to do. They ran off when I screamed for my husband."
The cleaner, who also goes by the name Marcella, is described as in her early 30s, with long hair worn in a ponytail.
Detective-Constable Paul Walker said: "This is a serious case and we are very keen to speak to this woman.
"I would ask anyone who thinks they know this person or has been approached to employ someone of this description to contact police immediately.
"All information will be treated as confidential and might prevent another person going through this terrifying ordeal."