Up to 10 men were involved in the kidnapping of a security van driver in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.
The cash-in-transit worker was taken from his west Belfast home and forced to get money and hand it over to his armed and masked assailants.
His partner and a son aged 16 were rescued in County Monaghan after they were taken hostage and kidnapped from home on Wednesday evening with pillow cases covering their heads. This is the fourth similar crime in Northern Ireland this year, police said.
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said: "They were left in no doubt if they did not co-operate and comply with the instructions that their lives would be in danger."
The kidnap happened at Teeling Grove, Dunmurry, west Belfast, at around teatime on Wednesday.
While his wife and son were driven in a van to Co Monaghan, the employee was held overnight then forced to go to work and hand over a substantial sum to the gang in Muckamore industrial estate outside Antrim town the next day.
His wife and son were taken to the Aushnadamp area near Castleblayney, across the Irish border in Co Monaghan, by the thieves and were freed by Irish police on Thursday.
Police in Northern Ireland are following all lines of inquiry and refused to rule out dissident republican involvement. They are interviewing the victims.
The woman and teenager were locked in a shed in Co Monaghan. The kidnappers then set the van, used to transport them, alight. The fire was spotted by someone in the area who contacted Irish police and the victims were found on Thursday night. They were not injured but left severely traumatised by their ordeal.
Police want to trace two vehicles used by the gang, a white van seen at Teeling Grove on Wednesday and a brown hatchback seen at Muckamore the following day.