An armed gang get away with an estimated £50,000 in Sligo mail robbery.

The raiders struck shortly after 2.30 am last night on a narrow laneway leading to the Sligo train station. The mail bags had been transferred from the night train to two post office vans and a CIÉ lorry. The convoy followed by a Garda patrol car made its way down the laneway towards the Sligo general post office.

They were suddenly confronted by armed and masked men.

One of the van drivers Noel Morrison explains what happened. Travelling down the lane, he saw two men, one with a rifle, Seconds later, there was a bang and the windscreen on the Garda car was smashed. Noel Morrison pulled up behind the CIÉ van and they were all ordered out of their vehicles onto the road. They were searched, tied up and gagged. The raiders took off with all the vans warning the post office workers not to turn around.

The raiders sped away from the scene taking the patrol car and the three vehicles.

Within a matter of hours, all the vehicles had been found abandoned in various locations around Sligo and Leitrim. The raiders appear to have tried to drive the lorry into a disused mineshaft at Arigna. When the lorry would not go through the entrance the mailbags were opened on a ledge in front of the mine. Several hundred tonnes of mail including parcels are strewn around the area as post office workers await Garda clearance to move in.

Gardaí have erected road blocks from Galway to Donegal. So far, the raiders remain at large.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 6 September 1977. The reporter is Jim Fahy.