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Police lash out at gunman leaflet threat against 'informers'

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 28/11/2016

The flyer that has been circulated in east Belfast
The flyer that has been circulated in east Belfast
Condemnation: Chris Lyttle

Leaflets threatening people who co-operate with police have been branded a cowardly attempt to intimidate.

Flyers featuring a gunman and the union flag, stating: "All PSNI informers will be put out of this area" were distributed in east Belfast at the weekend.

PSNI Belfast commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Noble, said: "Police roundly condemn this cowardly attempt to intimidate a law-abiding community.

"Policing only works in partnership with the community, acting on those things that are of concern to the community in order to keep them safe.

"Police will continue to apply legitimate pressure to those who prey on local people and who attempt to exercise illegitimate power and cause fear."

The leaflets were placed on cars in east Belfast overnight on Friday. The PSNI said they were a "clear sign" that community policing was having an impact and vowed to "sharpen" their focus on tackling criminality in the city.

Chris Lyttle from the cross-community Alliance Party added his condemnation and urged people to continue to work with the police. "Once again we see faceless people using the cover of darkness to make threats against the community," he said.

"It is, however, vital that people continue to support and provide information to enable the PSNI to keep our community safe."

Earlier this year police hit back after posters bearing the message, 'People Should Not Inform', were erected in parts of west Belfast, Armagh and Tyrone.

Officers in Craigavon used social media to tell the community that "inform" was not a dirty word and highlighted a number of instances where information from the public had led to the apprehension of criminals.

In April, an image of a gunman beside the message, "Loose talk costs lives", and the phrase: "Whatever you say, say nothing" was painted on the 'International Wall' on the Falls Road, Belfast.

At the time, the message was slammed by the SDLP as a throwback to the 1970s and "open intimidation".

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