Gardaí are searching for three men who broke into the home of an elderly couple, assaulted them and robbed them at knifepoint in Co Westmeath over the weekend.

The incident took place at a house near Ballynacargy in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Locals say a 75-year-old profoundly deaf man and his wife, who is in her 80s, were confronted after the men broke into their house.

It is understood the elderly woman was threatened with a knife before a sum of money was handed over.

The incident has shocked locals and has been described as reprehensible and cowardly by Labour TD Willie Penrose, who lives in the area and is related to the couple.

Mr Penrose said the elderly residents are among the most vulnerable in the community and there is a great deal of anger about the incident.

The couple is said to be severely traumatised after the attack, but did not attend hospital.