Police investigating the murder of an 82-year-old woman who died after a masked robbery on her home have urged the public not to shield the raiders.

Two masked robbers forced their way into the home of Joy Middleditch and knocked her to the ground, before stealing her handbag and fleeing.

Eastern Daily Press: Joy Middleditch.Joy Middleditch. (Image: Supplied by Suffolk Police)

The masked men left her injured and "helpless on the floor" of her bungalow on Grayson Avenue in Pakefield, Lowestoft.

It happened at some point overnight between Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25.

Eastern Daily Press: A forensic officer in Grayson Avenue, Pakefield, Suffolk, as police investigate the murder of pensioner Joy Middleditch (Sam Russell/PA)

A murder investigation was launched after Mrs Middleditch died at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston in the early hours of Monday, March 27.

Senior officers described the attack as "callous and cowardly" as police continue to hunt those responsible.

With investigations continuing, Sgt Steve Wright, of the Neighbourhood and Partnership Team based at Lowestoft Police Station, said: "We are again appealing for anyone that has any information to come forward.

"This was a cowardly incident which has left a family grieving and our community in shock.

"If you know who is responsible, please don't shield them, do the right thing and contact police."

A post mortem examination was carried out on Monday, however the cause of death has yet to be confirmed, with further examinations due to take place.

While currently there have been no arrests, a large police presence remains within Pakefield and the Lowestoft area.

In heartfelt tributes the family described Mrs Middleditch as "a strong, determined character who loved life and her dog."

They added: "She was a loving person who was sadly taken from us too soon."

CCTV footage and anyone with doorbell cameras in the area are asked to get in touch as are any motorists with a dashcam fitted in their vehicle driving in the vicinity of the B1532 London Road in south Lowestoft between 6pm on March 24 and 7am on March 25.

Contact the Major Investigation Team online or call 101 quoting the crime reference number 37/17537/23.