Gardai in north Dublin are searching for an armed gang who took a couple and their son hostage during what appears to have been a botched robbery in the early hours of this morning.
The gang entered the family's home on Glasnevin Avenue at around 1am and tied up the occupants.
Several hours later, they bundled the father and son into a van, while the mother was left behind and given what Gardai have described as "certain instructions".
At around 7am, the van broke down while travelling southbound on the M50 and the gang fled on foot, leaving the victims tied up in the back of the vehicle.
They were found by a garda patrol a short time later.
Forensic experts are currently examining the family home and the abandoned van and Gardai say they are also searching for a wine-coloured Toyota Avensis and a silver BMW that was used by the kidnappers.