Sussex Police carried out a widespread search after an elderly woman confronted an intruder in her Portslade home last night (January 21).
According a police spokesman, the man entered the house in Newtimber Drive from the rear at around 6.30pm and demanded money from the elderly resident.
He searched the house, police said, before leaving with a packet of Blue Mayfair king size cigarettes. He is not thought to have taken anything else.
A police dog unit and police helicopter supported the search for the man, with officers on the ground conducting house-to-house enquiries in the area, said police.
The intruder is described by police as white, 5ft 9ins tall, wearing an all-black puffer jacket, balaclava, beanie hat, leggings and woollen gloves. He spoke with a southern accent.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 1247 of 20/01.