Belfast Telegraph

Police investigate 'potentially dangerous' letter warning individuals to leave Belfast

By Sue Doherty

The PSNI is investigating letters distributed in north Belfast warning individuals to leave the area immediately.

A group calling itself "Communities Against Drug Dealing and Criminality" claimed to be behind the letter distributed in the Tiger's Bay, York Park, Shore Crescent, Mount Vernon and Graymount areas.

A concerned resident sent the Belfast Telegraph a copy of the document. Police have described it as "intensely unhelpful and potentially dangerous".

The letter claims that the communities are "being held to ransom by a criminal gang" involved in drug-dealing, extortion, loan sharking and other criminality.

A well-known business is claimed to be the gang's "centre of operations".

The names of five individuals are then set out alleging they are involved in criminal activity.

"These individuals are no longer welcome in our areas and we call on the above individuals to leave our communities immediately," the letter stated.

An appeal is made to elected representatives, church ministers and others with influence to "ensure that these criminals are successfully dealt with" through the judicial system as soon as possible.

In response to a query from the Belfast Telegraph, PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen Burns said: “We are currently carrying out enquiries into this matter."

He added: "While we do not discuss allegations against individuals, circulating material such as this is intensely unhelpful and potentially dangerous."

The chief inspector also moved to "reassure the public that police are actively working with communities to address criminality and issues like drug dealing across all parts of Northern Ireland".

"Anyone with concerns or information about any form of criminality, report it to police on the non-emergency number 101 so that we can respond appropriately. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111," he concluded.

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