1. ITV Report

Four men arrested by Paramilitary Crime Taskforce

Four men including a senior UDA member have been arrested as part of an operation by the PSNI’s Paramilitary Crime Taskforce.

Detectives carried out a two-day search operation across in north Belfast, Holywood and Portadown in relation to activities of the paramilitary grouping in west Belfast.

They seized paramilitary uniforms, paraphernalia including badges, flags and ties. They also recovered drugs including cannabis and steroids, mobile phones, a gun holster and ammunition.

Four men aged 24, 32, 34 and 36 were arrested and taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organisation. It’s understood one of those arrested is a senior UDA member in Belfast.

Two of the men, aged 34 and 36, have been released pending a report to the PPS for the offence of membership of a proscribed organisation.

The 36-year-old man is to be reported to the PPS for the offence of being concerned in the supply of Class C controlled drugs.

The 24-year-old man and 32-year-old man remain in police custody at this time.

The taskforce was set up to tackle paramilitaries in Northern Ireland and has made 100 arrests and seized criminal assets worth £450,000 in the last year. Credit: Pacemaker

Detective Inspector Heather Whoriskey said: “While these searches and arrests focused specifically on the West Belfast UDA, we will continue to target all paramilitary groups and disrupt their illegal activities which only serve to blight the communities they operate in.

“These people prey on the most vulnerable members of their communities and try to control them by using fear and violence.

“The PSNI is committed to disrupting their activity and we are working hard to rid our communities of the paramilitary groupings but we need your help.

“I understand that people feel afraid to speak out against these paramilitaries, but police need information from local people – as we will act on information we receive. It may not always be visible and immediate but please be assured that every piece of information is assessed and acted on.”