A FAMILY in Dundalk suffered a terrible ordeal in an aggravated burglary last night when three men burst into their home armed with hammers.
The robbery happened at the Belfry Gardens estate at 8pm when one of the family answered a knock at the door.
The family are involved in the running of the popular Jade Garden restaurant on Park Street in the Co Louth town.
Some reports say the owner of the house, Tim Wan, was home at the time of the robbery, but others say he was at work and contacted by a concerned neighbour.
One of the adults in the family answered the door and the three men forced their way in.
Once inside the raiders brought the couple's three children, aged 16, 12 and 10, from upstairs and held them in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, either one or both parents was brought to an upstairs bedroom where the raiders demanded money.
They were then locked in a bedroom as the raiders escaped with a sum of money believed to be between €2,000 and €3,000.
They drove away in a white Citroen Berlingo van.
All of the three raiders had their faces covered and wore gloves.
One of them was described as being 6ft tall, wearing a high-viz jacket, a black beanie hat and black gloves with an orange label on the thumbs.
He spoke with a northern accent. The other two were around 5ft 8ins tall and had their faces covered also.
Two of the men were said to be carrying hammers.
The detached house in the quiet cul de sac was sealed off this morning pending a technical examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.
It is hoped that CCTV cameras at the house recorded some images that could help catch the raiders.
There were reports that some neighbours saw the masked men running from the house before driving away.
Gardai in Dundalk are investigating the incident and appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.
The incident in Dundalk is the latest in a string of aggravated burglaries targeting take-away restaurant staff in their homes.
Two men suffered stab wounds to the face in separate aggravated burglaries on October 30.
A 54-year-old man was stabbed in the face with a screwdriver during the course of a burglary in Donaghmede, north Dublin.
An hour earlier in a separate incident a 27-year-old suffered a laceration to the side of his head in another apparent attempted burglary at Dunboyne Co Meath.
Both victims were Asian men and were understood to be involved in restaurant businesses.