Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: Action Against Drugs thugs pose in front of menacing graffiti in New Lodge

The republican crime gang urged people to join AAD to "reclaim your community".

Masked men patrol the new lodge area as Action Against Drugs warnings appear on the walls in the Newlodge area of north Belfast following a week of disorder in the are. August 18th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Masked men patrol the new lodge area as Action Against Drugs warnings appear on the walls in the Newlodge area of north Belfast following a week of disorder in the are. August 18th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Calls have been made for republican crime gang Action Against Drugs (AAD) to disband after armed men were pictured posing in front of threatening graffiti in north Belfast.

Images have emerged of two masked men in front of graffiti warning that drugs dealers and burglars with be "dealt with" in the New Lodge area.

One of the men is pictured with a gun, while a second man is seen holding a cudgel.

A series of violent clashes broke out last week in the New Lodge area due to the construction of an illegal bonfire, which police and contractors failed to remove from the area. It is thought AAD is using this as an opportunity to gain power in the area.

It is understood the republican crime gang is behind a recent paramilitary style attack in the New Lodge which saw a man have his leg broken by masked thugs armed with baseball bats.

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Police are faced with disorder at the New Lodge bonfire in north Belfast.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said: “There is absolutely no place for this group who have already been responsible for a number of deaths and beatings.

“It’s clear that AAD are attempting to use recent disturbances in the area to gain relevance, a move which has already been rejected by the vast majority of residents.

“This group, contrary to its grafitti claiming to reclaim the community, has gained wealth by taxing drug-dealers. We don't need more gunmen on our streets, we need the gunmen to get off the community’s back.

"What we do need is a multi-agency approach to tackle ongoing anti-social behaviour and criminality and this is what Monday’s public meeting will address. It is the community itself who are reclaiming their area.”

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