GATINEAU, Que. (CP) - The security perimeter around the prime minister's official Quebec country house was breached early Sunday morning by a "troubled individual" who smashed a car through a gate.

An RCMP spokesman said officers quickly intervened.

"The protective unit of the RCMP intercepted the vehicle right away and proceeded with the arrest of the individual," Cpl. Jean Hainey said. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was staying at the residence, known as Harrington Lake, at the time of the 2:30 a.m. disturbance.

A source close to the prime minister said Harper wasn't aware of any trouble "as the entrance is so far away from the house."

"There was no threat to the prime minister whatsoever," the source said.

Hainey said the suspect was handed over to local police, but by Sunday afternoon had not been charged.

The RCMP provided few other details although various media reports said the suspect was a woman who was driving a white Chevrolet and simply wanted to meet Harper.

The Prime Minister's Office, played down the intrusion.

"The incident was minor in nature," Harper's director of communications, Sandra Buckler, said in an e-mail to The Canadian Press.

"There was minor damage to the gate - it is now being repaired - and the troubled individual was dealt with immediately by the RCMP and is now in custody."

Harrington Lake has served as a country retreat for Canada's prime minister since 1959. Originally built in 1925, the rustic mansion is located in Gatineau Park, a short drive from Ottawa.

Sunday's security breach is not the first time a prime minister's residence has hosted unwelcome visitors.

In November 1995, a schizophrenic man managed to scale the fence around the prime minister's official residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa.

The man entered the house and made it as far as the bedroom where then-prime minister Jean Chretien and his wife were sleeping.

The intruder came face to face with Aline Chretien, who armed herself with an Inuit sculpture, slammed and locked the door, then called security.

Many later questioned the quality of RCMP security measures around the nation's head of government.

But the PMO praised the RCMP's response to Tuesday's breach.

"The security system at Harrington Lake is working well and we appreciate the good work by the RCMP," Buckler said.

Copyright 2007 Canadian Press