Two men have been arrested after three garda vehicles were rammed on the M1 near Dundalk, Co Louth.

It is believed the car the memn were in may have been used in a robbery at a filling station near Lisburn in Northern Ireland, about 70km north of Dundalk, earlier in the day.

Gardaí said they "signalled for a car to stop which was travelling on the M1 motorway outside Dundalk, Co Louth.

"The vehicle came to a halt and as gardaí alighted from the patrol car, the offending vehicle rammed into the patrol car.

"A managed containment operation ensued whereby gardaí pursued the car, and the offending vehicle was apprehended on the M1 a short time later."

The men, believed to be in their 20s, were arrested and taken to Dundalk Garda Station.

It is understood that the first garda car to be rammed was an unmarked vehicle which had signalled for the car to stop.  

It was rammed a number of times before the culprits fled, travelling in the wrong direction on the motorway.

No gardaí were injured in the incident which happened on the M1 southbound between junctions 14 and 15.

Meanwhile, the PSNI are appealing for witnesses to the filling station robbery.

Lisburn-based Detective Sergeant Ricky Thompson said: "It was reported to police that two males entered the premises wearing scarves and baseball caps, one of them was believed to have been armed with possibly a knife or a screwdriver.

"They threatened members of staff and made off with two cash registers. 

"The men then fled the scene in a black Ford Focus which is then reported to have crossed the border, where the vehicle was stopped by our colleagues in An Garda Síochána and two males aged 25 and 26 were subsequently arrested."

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed this incident to come forward.

They are also appealing to anyone who was travelling along the M1 motorway in the Dundalk area between the hours of 2.45pm and 3.30pm today who may have camera (dash cam) footage.

Anyone with any information in relation to this incident should contact Dundalk Garda Station on 042 9388 400 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.