An off-duty garda has foiled an armed cash-in-transit raid in Ratoath, Co Meath.

Shortly after midday yesterday a security man collecting cash at a shopping centre in Ratoath was approached by a man brandishing what appeared to be a firearm.

The man, dressed in black, demanded the cash box and fled with it in a waiting grey Renault Kangoo van driven by another man.

An off-duty garda who witnessed the incident followed the van into a nearby housing estate where he blocked the van with his own car.

The suspects got out of the van and pointed a firearm at the unarmed garda.

Following a brief stand-off the men dropped the firearm and the cash box and fled into nearby fields.

A search of the area was mounted but so far the men have not been arrested.

During a follow-up search of a house at Streamstown, Ratoath, items of black clothing, which gardaí believe were used in the robbery, were recovered.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Ashbourne Garda Station on 01-8010600.