A thug suspected of beating and robbing three pensioners is in hospital after he was taken down by customers during a botched robbery.
The 28-year-old, who was on bail, was badly injured by two men when he attempted an armed raid on a rural supermarket.
Brandishing a knife, the west Dublin thug tried to raid a shop in Meath.
He entered the store in Ballivor at around 4.30pm last Saturday, threatening staff and demanding he be given money.
The two customers intervened, one throwing a full bag of shopping at the suspect before they took him down. He received serious facial injuries, including a broken nose and two black eyes. One of the customers suffered minor stab wounds. Both men required hospital treatment but the two were later released.
The thug, who cannot be identified as he is facing serious charges, was returned to custody on an outstanding warrant after being on the run.
A spokesman said: "Gardai are investigating the robbery of a supermarket on Main Street, Ballivor, on December 15 at approximately 4.30pm.
"A lone male armed with a knife entered the shop and demanded money.
"The male was apprehended by a customer. Both males required hospital treatment but were released later. There have been no arrests to date and the investigation is ongoing," the spokesman added.
The victims he is alleged to have targeted are all aged between 80 and 90.
Gardai suspect he carried out the shocking aggravated burglary of a disabled pensioner in west Dublin.
Jenny Powell (84) was attacked after an armed gang burst into her Mulhuddart Portakabin last month and beat her. Detectives in Blanchardstown have been searching for the suspect since and are expected to interview the 28-year-old.
Gardai also believe he was involved in a shocking aggravated burglary when a terrified pensioner was held at gunpoint in a border county.
A source told the Herald: "Gardai in different counties have been searching for this individual for several weeks - and he turns up in hospital after getting a hiding by a brave local.
"He gave a fake name when brought to hospital but it quickly emerged who he was.
"He isn't a criminal mastermind by any stretch but is still a dangerous individual."