31 March 2014
Last updated at 08:36
A house was damaged in Knockdhu Park in Larne during overnight trouble
A senior police officer has blamed the loyalist Ulster Defence Association in south-east Antrim for a “rampage” in Larne on Sunday.
A police vehicle was damaged as officers attempted to deal with up to 100 people who had gathered in Sallagh Park just before 21:00 BST.
A resident is in a stable condition in hospital and a police officer needed treatment.
The Democratic Unionist Party said the attacks were linked to recent arrests.
Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton condemned the disturbances, describing the attacks as a “rampage”.
“This group of somewhere between 60 and 100 people, many of them masked, who we believe to be members of south-east Antrim UDA, decided that they would take the law into their own hands,” he said.
“There’s obviously some tension and disputes that the group has with some individuals and households in the Larne area.
“They have absolutely no legitimacy to do any of this. They are acting outside of the law, it is simple criminality and we will be seeking to bring them to justice for this.”
Police first responded to reports of public disorder about 20:40 BST.
A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said officers arrived on the scene within three minutes and were immediately attacked.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the men had descended on the town and staged a “coordinated show of strength” before attacking police “and ransacking homes”.
“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.”
Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson said he was appalled at the violence which “raises serious questions about the status of this paramilitary group”.
“There is no place for this type of public disorder on our streets,” he said.
“It is disgraceful that the police were attacked when they responded to this trouble. I hope that the injured officer will be able to make a speedy recovery.
“If anybody has any information about this incident then I would urge them to contact the police.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said the attacks were “a challenge to British law and order”.
“Do those who are orchestrating and carrying out these attacks think they are above the law?” Mr Beggs said.
“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.”
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