Police say they have had to “redirect resources towards investigating a serious assault” after two wanted men were “kicked and beaten with iron bars,” in County Armagh .
They were then “further assaulted” and “covered in paint”.
James White and Alexis Guesto were taken back into custody after they were found tied up on a bench in Mullaghbawn.
They were wanted for offences including breach of licence and warrants.
Images shared on social media on Saturday appear to show them tied up and covered in paint.
Police said that due to the “violent actions of a small number of people, we have had to redirect resources and efforts towards investigating a serious assault.”
The police said both men had sustained injuries and have been taken to hospital for treatment.
One of the men has been arrested and the other remains in hospital.
Police said both men will appear in court at the “earliest opportunity in relation to the matters for which they were being sought”.
Det Ch Insp Jill Duffie, from the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch, said: “Throughout yesterday as our search for the two men was ongoing, I was pleased with the response from the local community and the assistance being provided to police.
“Unfortunately, now, due to the violent actions of a small number of people, we have had to redirect resources and efforts towards investigating a serious assault.
“There is no excuse for individuals taking the law into their own hands nor for the violent scenes that we witnessed last night.”
Earlier on Saturday, the police said it was believed the two men had travelled to Northern Ireland from the Republic.
There have been a number of reported sightings of them in south Armagh and Newry, County Down.
On Thursday afternoon, police seized a car from a car park on the Chancellors Road in Mullaghbawn after a member of the public expressed concern.
SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty said the incident was “disgraceful”.
“It is important that the two wanted men can now be brought before the courts so that they can be subjected to the judicial process,” he said.
“It is disgraceful however that the police now also have to deal with an assault case.
“There can be no middle man in the criminal justice system.”
Mr McNulty encouraged anyone with information on criminality to go to the police.
“Those who believe they are unable to do so can contact Crimestoppers anonymously.
“No one is above the law,” he added,