Hammer raiders threaten shop staff before ramming two garda cars in high-speed chase
Two men and one woman have been charged and are due to appear in court
Three suspects have been charged after an armed robbery getaway attempt turned into a high-speed chase, in which two garda cars were rammed.
The suspects, two men and a woman, all aged in their 20s, were arrested by armed officers near Enfield, Co Meath.
They were taken into custody after the chase came to a halt as the suspects crashed into a high-powered garda vehicle - the second collision with a garda car in the incident.
They were driving on the wrong side of the motorway.
Earlier, the gang had rammed a marked patrol car that was pursuing them close to Tullamore, Co Offaly.
The dramatic incident began at a Mace shop in Cappincur, near Tullamore, at 9.25pm on Tuesday.
Two people, armed with a knife and a hammer, entered the store, where they threatened the terrified staff and then escaped with more than €1,000 in cash.
They fled the scene in a getaway car.
However, gardai were alerted and the high-speed chase began.
Incredibly, no one was injured in the first crash and the suspects drove towards Dublin on the M4 motorway.
After a lengthy chase involving a number of garda patrol cars, the car containing the three suspects then smashed through the toll barrier at Enfield on the M4.
After this, the car did a U-turn and proceeded to drive the wrong way back up the motorway.
At this point, the car smashed into another garda vehicle.
It was a car attached to the Garda Regional Support Unit (RSU).
The trio were then arrested at and taken to Tullamore Garda Station.
Their period of detention was extended on the direction of a senior garda.
This morning gardaí confirmed that three people have been charged in connection with the incident.
They are due to appear before Portlaoise District Court.
The trio are suspects for at least two other similar recent armed robberies of shops in the midlands.
Despite currently living in Co Cavan, one of the arrested men is from Coolock, while the other is from Portlaoise.
They are understood to be related to each other and very well known to gardai.