An investigation is under way into an attempted ATM robbery at the Bank of Ireland on Main Street in Dunleer, Co Louth.

A Garda Armed Support Unit on patrol in the area came across the robbery attempt at around 4.30am.

The raiders fled the scene and gardaí pursued them onto the N1 before they crossed the border.

The PSNI has joined the search and is helping gardaí with their inquiries.

A digger remains at the scene in Dunleer, which has been sealed off.

A twin axel flatbed trailer was recovered there and gardaí are attempting to locate its owner.

A significant amount of damage was caused during the incident.

It is the second time the ATM has been targeted.

In November, raiders made a similar attempt but did not manage to steal the cash machine.

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who witnessed irregular activity in the Ardee, Dunleer and Stabannon areas of Co Louth early this morning.

They are particularly keen to speak to anyone who saw a tractor pulling a low loader and excavator in these areas between 4am and 5am.

Gardaí would also like to speak to anyone who can assist in locating a white pickup 4x4 vehicle that is believed to have been used in the attempted robbery. The vehicle may have damage to the rear.

They are also asking road users who may have camera footage of the incident to contact Ardee Garda Station on 041 68711137, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.