Gardaí are questioning three men following an attempted burglary at the isolated home of an elderly couple.

It happened in the Freemount area of Charleville just before 6pm this evening.

Gardaí were waiting when two members of a burglary gang based in Cork city arrived at the farmhouse near the north Cork village of Freemount.

The couple had just left the house to go to evening mass.

The two men were arrested at the scene.

At third man, the gang's driver, was pursued at high speed by gardai over a distance of almost 20 kilometres.

He was eventually arrested near Banteer after he tried but failed to crash through a garda blockade.

Two of the men are significant targets of the garda's Operation Thor, which was launched in 2015 to target mobile criminal gangs committing burglaries in rural areas.

Both men are suspected of involvement in different burglary gangs going back decades. 

One of the men is aged in his mid 50s the other is in his early 60s. The third man is aged in his 40s.

They are being held at garda stations in Mallow and the Bridwell in Cork city.

They can be held for up to a week under legislation to combat organised crime.