Thugs attack garda car with hammers... all for a can of coke
This is the shocking moment a group of armed raiders battered a squad car during a botched late-night robbery.
The thugs, who were wearing balaclavas, attacked the garda vehicle with crowbars and hammers before fleeing the scene in an Audi.
Our exclusive CCTV footage shows two of the raiders repeatedly striking the bonnet and windows of the vehicle before fleeing the scene.
The Herald understands that despite the brazen nature of the crime, the thugs only escaped with a single can of Coke.
Our footage shows how the brave officers chased after the raiders, who eventually escaped along the M11.
Gardai are treating the incident extremely seriously and a manhunt is now under way for the thugs.
The incident happened at a Centra shop in Ashford, Co Wicklow, just after 1.20am on Friday.
It is understood the squad car in question suffered serious damage to its bonnet and windows.
Despite the attack, the officers kept their composure and tailed the raiders as they drove at full speed toward the motorway.
During the incident in Ashford, one of the raiders is understood to have locked themselves inside a store room.
However, one of his accomplices managed to help him escape just minutes before gardai arrived on the scene.
Sources told the Herald that the incident highlights the lack of armed support available to officers and illustrates the type of scenarios facing front line gardai.
"These individuals showed absolutely no regard for the safety and well-being of these front line officers," a source said.
"It is the latest example of attacks on our front line emergency service workers and demonstrates the need for greater protective equipment for gardai."
It is expected this incident will fuel calls for tougher sentences for those who carry out assaults on emergency service personnel.
The raid on the Centra shop was one of a number of attempted burglaries in Wicklow within hours of each other, which are suspected to have been carried out by the same gang.
There were also incidents in Rathnew and Enniskerry but no significant items were stolen in the raids.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Wicklow Garda Station on 0404-67107.