Residents are being warned to be on their guard over distraction burglaries.
A man entered the unlocked home of an elderly resident in North Shields town centre at around 2pm on Tuesday, claiming to be a gardener.
He offered to do some work but when he was refused, asked to use the toilet instead, going upstairs and leaving a short time later.
Police say it is not clear if anything has been stolen.
Officers are investigating and carrying out house to house enquiries in the area.
The offender is described as white, aged 19 to 25, approximately 5ft 5ins tall, slim build, with short brown hair. He was wearing a dark brown jumper and dark trousers.
Neighbourhood Inspector Martin Brooks said: “We want to remind residents to make sure they keep their property securely locked, even when they are at home, to prevent anyone simply walking into their home.
“We’re asking people to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity where they live.
“Please bear in mind that callers who turn-up unannounced, should always be treated with caution.
“We would also like to ask members of the community to look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours who could be victims of this type of crime and report any suspicious people or vehicles they see in the community.”
“If in doubt contact officers.”
To report any information about the incident contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 717 04/10/16 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
More crime prevention advice can be found at the Northumbria Police website www.northumbria.police.uk