Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Police swamp Carrickfergus to prevent second night of loyalist rioting

The scene in Carrickfergus on Friday morning
The scene in Carrickfergus on Friday morning
A police Land Rover passes a burning barricade in Carrickfergus

Fears of further loyalist rioting in Carrickfergus failed to materialise as a heavy police presence swamped the Co Antrim town.

Violence erupted on Thursday night with the UDA being blamed for disturbances.

And officers had been on high alert again last night after the PSNI said it had received "credible intelligence" that the south east Antrim UDA intended to orchestrate serious disorder in the Co Antrim area.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr issued a warning that the group intended to bring young people out to "wreck their own community and to attack police".

He appealed for public figures and parents to use their influence to prevent the trouble happening.

He said: "When riots happen people get hurt, communities get wrecked and property gets damaged.

"But we will not, on behalf of the vast majority of decent people who live in Carrickfergus, allow some of these groups who act as parasites on their local community to go out and wreck and ruin their way through Carrickfergus.

"We simply will not allow it to happen."

There was tension in the air a continuation of the trouble which erupted in the town on Thursday night was expected.

It came after up to 50 people were involved in trouble in the area when a van was hijacked and set on fire.

Bins were also set ablaze and used as barricades.

Assistant Chief Constable Kerr said there a number of issues had led to the attacks.

"There is an issue about loyalism at the minute is concerned about a range of issues, some political, some about the control of their own communities, some of it is just pure local thuggery."

"There is a number of ongoing searches and arrests linked to disorder in Larne two weeks ago, some of the motivation behind that we think is linked to those arrests and searches."

The trouble follows violence in Larne on March 30 when a mob of up to 100, many wielding baseball bats and sledgehammers, descended on the town and destroyed three properties.

The DUP's David Hilditch said he felt people yesterday had taken note of the police concerns.

"There is a police presence in the area but apart from that it is quite normal.

"Apart from a bit of an atmosphere, people seem to have taken note of the concerns of the police issued in the appeal earlier this evening."

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said: "The cynical use of young people by the criminal godfathers who are angry that the police have dared to arrest people suspected of being involved in the disorder in Larne two weeks ago, is disgraceful."

He added: "Those behind these plans know full well that they are taking vulnerable and easily led young people into situations which will without doubt get them a criminal record and jeopardise their futures.

"I deal with people every month who can't get visas, jobs firearms certificates because of acts which they committed in the past and now regret.

"I want more for my community than this and would appeal to young people and parents not to be duped into doing the will of evil men."

BACKGROUND

The violence in Carrickfergus is being blamed on the UDA and is seen as a response to police operations in the area targeting people involved in earlier attacks in nearby Larne.

The police were criticised last week after a convoy of vehicles left Carrickfergus and travelled to Larne where homes were attacked and people beaten and threatened.

Mob on rampage in Carrickfergus as police advise public to avoid area 

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