Belfast Telegraph

Still at large... the 150 suspects sought over our summer of unrest

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

Troublemakers intending to bring violence to the streets of Northern Ireland in the run-up to Christmas have been warned to think again – or face prison.

Police yesterday revealed 260 people have been convicted in relation to loyalist public disorder in the last 12 months.

A large loyalist rally is set to take place in Belfast later this month to mark the anniversary of the restriction on the days the Union flag is flown at City Hall.

The decision by Belfast City Council was met with widespread disruption and disorder last year.

A senior police officer yesterday admitted he had concerns trouble could flare again. Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said: "Of course we are concerned about the end of the month.

"Of course we are concerned when you see a lot of planned discussed activity towards the end of this month/beginning of next month and as we come up close to the 12-month anniversary of the flags protests, of course we are concerned about that."

The Parades Commission is due to rule on the November 30 parade later today. To date, a total of 440 people have been arrested as part of Operation Dulcet and Operation Titan, the investigations into illegal activity linked to flag protests and parades. A total of 560 people were charged or reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

Police have warned more arrests are imminent as they review the CCTV footage.

"We don't want to have to spend 2014 making hundreds more arrests for activity over the next couple of weeks on the streets of Belfast," he added.

Yesterday the PSNI released pictures of 150 people that its officers want to speak to in relation to alleged public disorder during the summer.

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright, the officer leading the investigation, said: "We have been carrying out a thorough investigation to identify those involved and make them amenable for their actions.

"We do not want to see large numbers of people, including young people, being criminalised and ending up before the courts and I would urge everyone with influence to do what they can to ensure we do not witness similar scenes on our streets – we don't want to spend 2014 investigating further offences committed in the winter of 2013 and beyond." Appealing for the public's help, he added: "There are people out there who will know the identity of these people.

"It is vital that we all send out a message to those involved in public disorder that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

"Those who break the law must face consequences for their actions."

The 150 images can be viewed here

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