Officer hurt in ‘UDA trouble’ in Larne

Police say the disorder involving crowds of up to 100 people started at around 8.40pm in the Sallagh Park area of the Co Antrim town.

A PSNI spokeswoman said police arrived at the scene of the disturbance within “three minutes of receiving the report”.

Police crews were attacked as they responded to the incident. One police officer required hospital treatment, while a police car and a number of homes were also damaged.

Police said “several people” were also assaulted at the scene.

Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton has condemned “the criminal actions of those involved in the disturbances”. He said the blame lay “firmly with the South East Antrim UDA”.

East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson described the incident as a “coordinated show of strength”.

“I believe that this was in retaliation for police arrests over the last week and also settling scores in an attempt to stamp paramilitary authority on parts of the town,” he said.

“This cannot be allowed to happen, Larne must not drift back to the days of the past and I know that there is no desire for this to happen apart from those who wish to be able to continue their criminality without challenge.”

Sinn Féin East Antrim MLA Oliver McMullan added: “The south east Antrim UDA should get off the backs of the people of Larne and disband immediately.

“The police need to respond robustly to this and I’m calling for arrests of those involved.”

UUP MLA for the area, Roy Beggs condemned those behind the attacks and appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

He said: “This is a challenge to British law-and-order. Do those who are orchestrating and carrying out these attacks think they are above the law?

“This is serious, organised crime endangering life. I would call for significant additional police resources to be dedicated to address those who are challenging British law and the justice system.”

Aliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson also condemned those responsible for the violence.

He said: “There is no place for this type of public disorder on our streets.

“I am deeply concerned by the reports from the PSNI that the South East Antrim UDA were responsible for this trouble. If this is correct, it raises serious questions about the status of this paramilitary group. The Chief Constable must look into this matter.”

On Sunday night, police said they were continuing to monitor the situation and appealed for calm.

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