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Car drug suspect beats up garda

A garda was taken to hospital after being viciously assaulted during a drugs search at a service station.

The garda was on routine patrol when he went to investigate a suspicious vehicle at a filling station on the Athlone Road, in Ferbane, Co Offaly, at 5.15am on Saturday.

Gardai at Birr said the officer discovered drugs and "a large amount of cash" when he searched the silver four-wheel drive vehicle.

The vehicle's sole occupant then hit the garda on the head and knocked him to the ground.

The officer was then hit while on the ground.

"He called for assistance and the driver made his escape on foot," the garda spokesman said.

The garda was taken to hospital and later discharged. Investigating officers are viewing CCTV footage and following a "definite line of inquiry".