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UUP's Beggs calls for 'rule of law, not of the jungle' after spate of Larne arsons linked to feud

By Victoria Leonard

The "rule of law not the rule of the jungle" is required in Larne amid fears that someone will end up dead in the wake of multiple arson attacks in the town, community representatives have said.

East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs spoke out after a delegation of UUP representatives met with Superintendent Darrin Jones, the new District Commander for Mid and East Antrim, and senior PSNI officers.

The meeting discussed the high-profile criminal feud which has led to a series of arson attacks in the town since Easter.

The most recent incident on Sunday involved a car being driven into the front of a house on the town's Killyglen Road and set on fire.

In a separate incident earlier that week, a car was driven backwards into a hair salon on the town's Main Street and set on fire, causing extensive damage to the business.

Prior to that, five vehicles were extensively damaged after being set on fire over the Easter weekend. There was a failed attempt to set a sixth alight.

Mr Beggs said that the meeting had provided an opportunity for "frank discussion about the recent arson attacks, assaults and crime in the Larne area".

"The Ulster Unionist Party backs the rule of law and not the rule of the jungle and we will remain totally supportive of the PSNI as they continue to try and combat the ongoing issues," he stated.

"We were given details of the additional police resources and patrolling that have been committed to the Larne area to try to combat the feuding elements.

"It is imperative that those who have endangered life are brought to justice and no more innocent bystanders are caught up in what has become a tit-for-tat fall out.

"The police need the eyes and ears of the community to help bring this to an end."

UUP MLA John Stewart said he had the "strong impression that the new police commander is determined to deal effectively with the culprits".

"The message which has to go out is a simple one: the only legitimate force of law and order is the PSNI, and people deciding to take the law into their own hands and seek revenge themselves only leads to a downward spiral of destruction," he added.

Superintendent Jones said: "We have met with a number of community and elected representatives about the recent attacks in Larne.

"We reassured them that we are taking the incidents seriously and doing all we can to bring an end to the current tensions in the area as well as put those responsible before the courts. We are asking people with influence to help us do that.

"We will continue to have a strong police presence on the ground in Larne."

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