Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Second man due in court as UVF terror probe goes on

Sinn Fein: Police warned nationalists

A man was due to appear in court today charged with misconduct in public office as part of a deepening police terror probe.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that the latest charges arise from the same investigation which saw a Co Antrim factory manager charged with being a member of the UVF last week.

Sinn Fein said last night that police had delivered warnings to nationalists in several parts of Northern Ireland that their details are in the hands of the UVF.

A police spokeswoman said a 22-year-old man was due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court today following an investigation into terrorist crime.

He has been charged with misconduct in public office, having information likely to be of use to terrorists and breach of the Data Protection Act.

Another man arrested in the same operation last Friday has been released without charge.

Police refused to give any other details about the charges, but did confirm that the man is not a police officer.

However, it is understood that the court appearance is linked to the police probe which saw a factory manager at the Wrightbus plant in Ballymena arrested recently.

Darren Leslie Richardson (30), of Moneynick Road, Randalstown, appeared in court on Friday where he was accused of being a member of the UVF. He was further charged with possession of documents likely to be of use to terrorists and possession of ammunition.

Sinn Fein has called on loyalist paramilitaries to confirm if nationalists were under threat.

Party negotiator Martin McGuinness said police had delivered warnings to Catholics in Derry City, south Derry and north Antrim over the weekend.

He said they were told their details were in the hands of the UVF.

He said: "It is completely unacceptable that people's personal details have turned up in UVF hands and that numerous people are now frightened and disturbed by these revelations.

"Given the fact that the UVF is the unionist paramilitary gang linked to these threats then it is now over to that organisation and the Progressive Unionist Party to make urgent statements explaining this turn of events and making it clear what threats exist or don't exist."

Mark Thompson, director of Relatives for Justice, today revealed that he had been threatened.

He blamed the UVF after he was warned of the risk by police in west Belfast on Saturday.

He linked the sinister development to his work with families from across the community.

He has lobbied for action on alleged security force collusion with loyalists and represented a string of loyalist murder victims.

But PUP leader and Policing Board member Dawn Purvis said she had no knowledge of any threats.

"My understanding from the PSNI is that there's no threat to anyone, but that the PSNI have a responsibility to inform someone under the human rights legislation if their details or names are found in the hands of someone," she said.

Police have said a number of individuals are in the process of being provided with information as part of an investigation into terrorist crime.

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