The group of middle-aged men caused chaos after stealing the boat and driving it in an "erratic manner" up and down the river Liffey in Dublin

The four men stole the boat before joyriding up and down the river Liffey, taunting the emergency services who were trying to catch them.

The men, who were not wearing life jackets, took the vessel from Poolbeg Marina shortly before 6am yesterday (1 June).

They then proceeded to speed up and down the river Liffey, even delaying the arrival of a cruise ship east of the Eastlink Bridge.

Gardai, the Dublin Fire Brigade River Rescue Team, Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat, and the Irish Coastguard all tried to stop the men, who were driving the boat in an “erratic manner”.

Speaking to the Belfast Herald, district officer at Dublin Fire Brigade, Donal Petherbridge, said: “These were not young men. One of them was certainly no spring chicken and appeared to be aged in his 60s.”

“When they began to go into shipping lanes and interfere with the manoeuvring of a cruise ship that it got more serious.”

“They appear to have been drinking and none of them were wearing life-jackets,” he added.

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After being pursued by the Dublin Fire Brigade rescue team’s boat up and down the river, the stolen boat stopped briefly at a quayside.

Two of the men got off and fled, while a third man also made his escape. The fourth man continued to drive the boat before it was stopped at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

The man, who stripped naked on the quayside, then handed himself over to the Gardai and was promptly arrested.

“We were acting for their own safety. The Dublin Fire Brigade River Rescue Crew carries out 120 rescues a year,”noted Petherbridge.

“I’ve been with the fire brigade for 31 years but this incident takes some beating,” he said.