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Concern as masked men in Co Antrim issue drug dealers warning

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Sinister: Masked men with a suspected firearm in Crumlin

Sinister: Masked men with a suspected firearm in Crumlin

Sinister: Masked men with a suspected firearm in Crumlin

Police are investigating after images appeared online showing a group of masked men in Co Antrim alongside 'IRA' graffiti warning drug dealers to leave the area.

DUP MLA Pam Cameron has urged police to urgently investigate the pictures, saying the photos were linked to a paramilitary group and had left residents living in fear.

Photos emerged on social media of men standing outside Ballydonaghy Meadows in the Crumlin area wearing camouflaged jackets with their faces covered, holding what looks like some kind of firearm.

One of the pictures is captioned 'RAD' with a tricolour.

Graffiti also appeared in the area warning 'IRA territory drug dealers out'.

Over the years a number of republican vigilante groups have emerged. The most notable include Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) in the north west and Action Against Drugs (AAD) in the Belfast area.

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed they are investigating reports of criminal damage in the area.

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"A report was made at around 9.30am on Wednesday that graffiti had been sprayed on property in the Ballydonaghy Meadows area of Crumlin," the PSNI spokesperson said.

"Police are also aware of images circulating on social media and enquiries are continuing."

Mrs Cameron said it was believed the photos were linked to a paramilitary group.

"The sinister images shared on social media last night purporting to show armed members of the paramilitary group known as 'RAD' need to urgently be investigated by the PSNI," the South Antrim MLA said.

"Local residents in Crumlin should not have to live in fear of this criminal gang."

Alliance MLA John Blair said the images were shared with him by a number of constituents. He said they were "truly appalled" by the gathering and described the area as an "established, settled and shared neighbourhood".

"I have spoken to local police and have been able to assure the constituents that have contacted me that police are following it up accordingly," he said.

DUP councillor Matthew Magill added that "there is no place for such activity in Crumlin or anywhere else".

Belfast Telegraph


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