A vehicle that turned back from a late-night garda checkpoint crashed into the front garden of a house before its occupants fled the scene.
At around 11.30pm on Monday night, a Mitsubishi Pajero turned around and sped away from gardaí who had been operating a checkpoint near the village of Quin, Co Clare.
A short time later, they received reports of a vehicle crashing and overturning in the garden of a house at Manor View in Quin.
Witnesses reported that four people managed to get out of the mangled vehicle and ran from the scene.
The 4x4 is understood to have lost control before smashing into a stone pillar and overturning into the garden, narrowly missing two cars.
Gardaí collected several five-gallon drums partially filled with what is believed to be kerosene. The investigation will try to establish whether any diesel or home heating oil had been stolen locally.