AN armed thug sparked a major security alert after he barricaded himself inside a garda station and threatened officers with an iron bar.
Two female gardai were left terrified after the teenager threatened to attack them before causing significant criminal damage.
The events unfolded at Arklow Garda Station in the early hours of Tuesday morning and resulted in a distress call being put out to nearby stations.
The Herald can reveal that a young man -- furious that his friend had earlier been detained -- entered the station just after midnight armed with an iron bar.
When officers on duty tried to calm the man down, he threatened them with the weapon forcing them to flee the public area into the garda quarters.
However the man continued to make threats against the three gardai on duty, two of whom were female.
He stayed in the public area for almost 30 minutes, during which time he caused significant criminal damage.
Our pictures show the main door of the station which was badly smashed by the thug.
Sources say he left the officers "in no doubt" that he was willing to assault them -- prompting one to call for help.
While waiting for officers to arrive from nearby Wicklow and Gorey stations, the man smashed the front door of the building and caused further damage inside.
The Herald understands that he arrived at the station as he believed his friend was being detained by gardai.
However the pal had earlier been discharged and officers were carrying out normal duties when he burst through the doors armed with the dangerous weapon.
Despite being told that his friend had been released, he directly threatened two female officers who are understood to have been"terrified".
When the officers managed to flee into their private quarters, the man is believed to have barricaded himself inside the public area before going on a rampage.
He was shouting abuse at the officers and threatening to injure them, the Herald understands.
A source told the Herald: "This was a horrible experience for those on duty and they are very lucky that this individual did not attack them.
"Only that they were able to get inside their offices an out of the public area, they would have been serious hurt or worse. The man was absolutely furious and convinced that his friend was in custody."
Reinforcement officers arrived after around half an hour later and managed to detain the man.
He was arrested for damaging the main door of the station and for public order offences.