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Police probe possible paramilitary link in Carrickfergus car attack and burglary

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Armed police respond to reports of males with pickaxes, hammers and baseball bats in the Blackthorn Park area of Carrickfergus on April 28th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Armed police respond to reports of males with pickaxes, hammers and baseball bats in the Blackthorn Park area of Carrickfergus on April 28th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Armed police respond to reports of males with pickaxes, hammers and baseball bats in the Blackthorn Park area of Carrickfergus on April 28th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Armed police respond to reports of males with pickaxes, hammers and baseball bats in the Blackthorn Park area of Carrickfergus on April 28th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Armed police respond to reports of males with pickaxes, hammers and baseball bats in the Blackthorn Park area of Carrickfergus on April 28th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Police are investigating a potential paramilitary link to an incident in Carrickfergus which saw a gang hold up a car and attack it with pickaxes.

Detectives are also considering a link to a nearby burglary.

At around 5pm on Tuesday, April 28, a black Volkswagen Passat was driving along the Larne Road area when another car pulled out to block it at the junction of Higgins Court.

Three masked men armed with pickaxes got out of the car and attacked the Passat.

Damage was caused to the rear window, rear drivers’ side window, windscreen and one of the car’s tailgate lights during the incident.

The driver of the vehicle, who although badly shaken but was not injured, made off from the scene and reported the incident, police said.

Later at around 7.45pm, it was reported that four masked males armed with a baseball bat and a hammer gained entry to a property in the Blackthorn Park area.

Damage was caused to the inside of the property during the incident, but no one was believed to have been inside.

A short time later, one man aged in his 50s was arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary in relation to the incident. He was later released pending further investigation, a PSNI spokesman said.

"Police are following a number of lines of enquiry at this stage of the investigation," he added.

Alliance Carrick Castle Councillor Lauren Gray condemned those behind the incidents and called for anyone with information to report it to police.

“Thankfully nobody was seriously injured," she said.

"But that doesn’t change the fact the perpetrators are clearly dangerous individuals with no regard for the safety of others. They need taken off the streets immediately. Incidents like these are not indicative of the area or the vast majority of its people."

Police also appealed for anyone with any information to contact them on 101, quoting reference number 1243 28/04/20.

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph