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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Unarmed off-duty garda hailed a hero after wrestling armed raider to the ground

Two men, both wearing motorcycle helmets and wielding a handgun and a knife, entered a Permanent TSB

Published 30/05/2014 | 23:34

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Gardai arrest a man after an off duty detective garda  foiled a bank raid in Drogheda this afternoon.
The garda, who was unarmed, held onto one of the two raiders outside the Permanent TSB on West Street.
One raider had a knife, the other had a gun.
Pics Colin Bell
Gardai arrest a man after an off duty detective garda foiled a bank raid in Drogheda this afternoon. Photo: Colin Bell

AN UNARMED off-duty garda has been hailed a hero after wrestling an armed raider to the ground despite being threatened at gunpoint during a bank robbery.

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The armed raid occurred just before 3.45pm when two men, both wearing motorcycle helmets and wielding a handgun and a knife, entered the Permanent TSB on West Street, Drogheda, Co Louth.

The man with a black-handled knife entered the branch and terrorised staff, before entering a back room where he stuffed a holdall bag with notes, amounting to approximately €4,000.

Meanwhile, a second man armed with a silver firearm stood on watch at the entrance to the bank, holding the doors shut from the inside so that no one else could enter.

A source explained how a member of the public walking past first observed what was going on through a glass panel and "pulled the man with the gun out onto the street."

It was at that stage that he was wrestled to the ground by an off-duty Guard, dressed in a green rugby top, and a struggled ensued.

"At this stage the other fellow with the knife had come out of the bank and the gunman managed to get up and go towards the bike.

"He assumed his mate was following, but the Guard and one or two members of the public overpowered the man with the knife, who had the money.

"The other guy came back and pointed the gun at the Guard's head and told him to let him go, but he refused.

"The guy was trying desperately to wrestle himself free."

The armed robber then jumped on a motorbike and fled the scene at high speed.

The unarmed detective from Harcourt Square continued to hold onto the man until backup arrived.

A local shopkeeper described how an enormous kitchen knife with a 12-inch blade was seen lying on the ground next the robber.

The weapon was placed in a plastic evidence jar by one of the brave officers who arrested the suspect.

A large crowd had gathered around the man as the drama unfolded.

A local who witnessed the drama unfold said the officer showed complete disregard for his own safety - even with the gun pointed at his head.

"I went out and saw the guy who had rugby-tackled the robber holding him on the ground," he said.

"I saw the other fella with the gun.

"I saw the gun and it was pointing towards the man on the ground. When he wasn't on for letting him go he ran off and got on the motor bike which was at the top of Shop Street."

The man in his late 40s was arrested at the scene and was detained under Section 4 Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at Drogheda Garda Station.

No shots were fired during the incident, and all of the cash taken in the raid was recovered.

Gardai say the investigation is ongoing.

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