Three youths threaten young German au pairs with knife after following them off a train at Victoria Street station, East Maiutland

TWO young German women have been threatened with a knife and had their handbags stolen during a frightening late-night robbery near Victoria Street railway station at East Maitland.

The 19-year-old au pairs, in Australia to live and work for local families, had caught a train from Maitland about 12.15am before walking across the Victoria Street footbridge.

Police said three males had also got off the train and followed the pair.

As they neared the intersection with Hobart Street, the young women were  approached by the youths who demanded they hand over their handbags.

One of the attackers pulled out a knife and threatened the pair before ripping the bags from their clutches.

The youths were last see running down Victoria Street and turning left into Lawes Street.

The victims were able to raise the alarm at a nearby residence.

They were not injured.

Central Hunter detectives are reviewing closed circuit television footage from train stations.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Maitland police on 4934 0200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.