Belfast Telegraph

Demands for PSNI crackdown on loyalist gangs after car set alight

By Staff Reporter

Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill said "not enough is being done to tackle the scourge of loyalist intimidation and violence" in east Antrim as she urged the Chief Constable to crack down on paramilitaries.

Three young children escaped injury on Monday after shots were fired into their home on Larne's Brustin Brae Road in the early hours.

A hijacked car was also driven into the garage of the house and set alight.

A man has appeared in court in relation to the incident.

Detectives discovered two suspected firearms, ammunition and other items in the Drumahoe Gardens area of Millbrook on Tuesday.

In the early hours of yesterday, another car was set on fire in the Ardclinis Gardens area of the town. It is understood that the vehicle belonged to the father-in-law of the man whose family owns the Brustin Brae Road property that was attacked earlier in the week.

The PSNI said it was investigating a link between the Ardclinis Gardens arson attack and other recent incidents in Larne.

Ms O'Neill said her party had raised concerns over the activities of loyalists in the Carrickfergus and Larne areas at a meeting with Chief Constable George Hamilton on August 8. Calling for a meeting between the Chief Constable and Sinn Fein representatives, she added: "The situation in east Antrim is becoming increasingly intolerable and I'm concerned that not enough is being done to tackle the scourge of loyalist intimidation and violence, which has now claimed a number of lives.

"I do acknowledge PSNI efforts that have resulted in a number of arrests where persons are subject to due process, but the murderous activities of these groups cannot be tolerated.

"The most recent upsurge in loyalist attacks in the area, including a shooting that could have resulted in the deaths of three children, is a new low and a source of real concern.

"I am therefore urging the Chief Constable to make the necessary resources available to reassure local communities."

Responding to Ms O'Neill's comments, Superintendent Darrin Jones said: "A number of people have been charged in connection with the most recent serious incident.

"Therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further about this or any other potentially linked incident.

"We recognise the impact these crimes are having on the individuals concerned and the wider community, and we are taking every investigative opportunity to arrest and charge those involved."

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