POLICE are hunting a masked bandit who held up employees at the Jesmond Hotel armed with a screwdriver and a crowbar.
Hotel workers were locking up about midnight when the bandit ran towards a female in the poker area and marched her to the office.
He stole a moderate amount of cash before taking the woman’s mobile phone and purse.
A police dog was able to track a scent down Mordue Parade before losing it near Heaton Park.
The suspect is described as being about 168cm tall, of slim build and Aboriginal appearance and was wearing green tracksuit pants, hooded jumper and balaclava.
Meanwhile, Lake Macquarie police are investigating a break-in at the Cardiff Panthers where thieves left empty handed.
It appeared a rock was used to smash a window before the intruders jumped a desk and searched drawers.
Police are investigating links between the Cardiff break-in and a similar incident at the Edgeworth McDonalds restaurant earlier in the night.