<h1>Son faked armed kidnapping to extort €50,000 from

Conor Lally, Crime Correspondent

The Garda has foiled a highly unusual attempted robbery in which
a man claimed he had been taken hostage by an armed gang in an
effort to extort €50,000 from his own father,
The Irish Times has learned.

The man staged a photograph of himself tied up, as another man
who was masked pointed a shotgun at his head.

He then told his girlfriend, who was part of the conspiracy, to
go to his father's business in south Co Dublin, show him the
picture and tell him his son would only be released if he handed
over €50,000 to her to take to the kidnappers.

The incident took place on Wednesday but details only emerged
last night.

The plan began to unravel when the father, who is originally
from Belfast and owns a business in south Dublin, decided to alert
the Garda rather than hand over the money to his son's girlfriend
to secure the release.

Gardaí in Tallaght profiled the son and discovered he had a
history in the drugs trade as a dealer and addict. "We smelt a rat
immediately," said one senior officer.

They did not tell the father that they suspected his son was
faking his own kidnapping because they feared that would alert his
girlfriend that their plan had been foiled.

Instead, a security operation was put in place involving
gardaí from Tallaght and members of the National Surveillance
Unit (NSU) and Emergency Response Unit (ERU) along with gardaí
from Drogheda, where the couple at the centre of the scam

They are in their 30s. He is originally from Belfast and she
from Drogheda. The third party involved is a man in his 30s from

This third party engaged in telephone contact with the
businessman throughout Wednesday. A number of efforts were made by
him to set up a drop-off point for the money.

He told the intended extortion victim that unless the cash was
handed over, his son would be killed. However, the businessman
stayed calm and followed Garda instructions.

This enabled the NSU and ERU personnel to move into an arranged
drop-off point near the M50 at 11.30pm on Wednesday.

However, instead of receiving €50,000 the man's son and
his accomplice were surrounded by the armed officers and arrested.
It was at this time the businessman became aware of his son's

The woman was arrested at about the same time.

The suspects were being detained at Tallaght and Drogheda Garda
stations last night under Section 30 of the Offences Against the
State Act. They are expected to be charged as early as today.