An attempt was made by an armed gang to abduct a couple and their young child as part of a planned robbery in Co Kildare in the early hours of this morning.

The incident follows similar attacks carried out on post office employees in the past three weeks.

In this latest attempted robbery, a gang of four armed and masked men targeted a G4S Cash Solutions security employee in Kilmeade, near Athy, at around 5am.

The gang tried to abduct the man, who is in his 30s, his pregnant wife and their two-year-old son.

However, a panic alarm was activated and the raiders fled, leaving a white van at the scene.

Gardaí believe that the gang members may have been picked up by a car nearby.

Gardaí are also appealing for anyone with information about the incident to contact them at Kildare Garda Station on 045-527730.

In a statement, the company said it was thankful its staff member was unharmed and that all security systems and procedures 'worked effectively'.

This is the third incident of its kind in Co Kildare in recent weeks.

On Good Friday, a gang of four armed and masked men broke into the house of a post mistress in Ballinafagh, near Prosperous. They failed to get any money. The gang held a mother and two daughters hostage when they tried to raid the post office.

And GPO Executive Liam O'Sullivan and his wife and two children were also held up by at least four armed raiders in their Fennore home earlier this month.