A cash machine theft was thwarted earlier on Wednesday by armed police who then chased the suspects before they crossed the border.

Officers from the garda’s armed support unit were on patrol in Dunleer, County Louth, when they intercepted the attempted theft and pursued the suspects north on the M1 motorway.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is assisting Irish police with the search for the culprits.

No injuries were reported.

The PSNI said a white-coloured SUV linked to the attempted theft was spotted travelling towards the Dublin Road area of Newry, County Down, between 05:00 and 05:15 GMT.

It has appealed for information on the vehicle.

GardaĆ­ (Irish police) have asked that anyone who may have witnessed “irregular activity” in the Ardee, Dunleer or Strabannon areas of County Lough between 04:00 and 05:00 local time to come forward.

They said they are “particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed a tractor pulling a low-loader and excavator in those areas at this time”.

They added that they want to find a “white pick-up 4X4”, which may have damage to the rear, that is believed to have travelled towards Northern Ireland.

In November, there was a similar attempt on the cash machine in Dunleer, but the suspects did not manage to steal it.

A significant amount of damage was caused during the incident.