Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Men's arms are broken by loyalist baseball bat thugs

Loyalist paramilitaries have been blamed for a series of vicious attacks in which two men had their arms broken by thugs wielding baseball bats.

Masked men armed with bats and hammers targeted three separate homes on Monday night in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.

The incidents happened in the Sunnylands area, where UDA murals are plastered across the walls of the loyalist estate.

The first attack occurred in Sunnylands Grove at around 10.20pm when a gang forced their way into a house and attacked a man with wooden bats, breaking his arm.

Ten minutes later, in Pinewood Avenue, a gang attacked another male with hammers, breaking both his arms. A gang entered a third home but failed to find the person they were looking for and left.

All of the properties were within a one-mile radius and broken into within 20 minutes.

Members of the Carrickfergus Borough Policing and Community Safety Partnership urged gang members to stop dealing with street crime within groups.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said the sinister hallmarks of loyalist paramilitarism were clear. “Lessons of the past have not been learned about taking revenge or fixing loose ends,” he said.

“Whatever the issue, it cannot be resolved in this way.

“When a mum has to explain to her children why there are police cars sitting on the road in the morning when they are on their way to school it is no way to live, and we should be past this by now.”

Ulster Unionist councillor John Stewart said: “This type of organised crime it is not acceptable.

“So-called ‘community policing' within gangs is the simple case of taking issues into their own hands.”

He added: “They are not above the law, and paramilitary-style attacks like this will not be tolerated.”

East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said these violent groups were “meant to have gone away”.

“Since the peace process it's regrettable that there have been such a high number of paramilitary-style attacks and this amount of violence has been brutalising the community,” he said.

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