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Police searches linked to UDA activity carried out in Co Armagh

Police carried out searches in county Armagh as part of a two-day crackdown on paramilitaries.

The PSNI’s Paramilitary Crime Taskforce carried out the operation which was focused on the activity of the West Belfast UDA.

However, 13 searches were carried out in the north Belfast, Holywood and Portadown areas.

Four men aged 24, 32, 34, and 36 were arrested during the searches in north Belfast on suspicion of membership of the UDA.

Two of the men – the 34-year-old and 36-year-old – were later released pending a report to the PPS for the offence of membership of a proscribed organisation.

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

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

Paramilitary uniforms and paraphernalia, which included badges, flags and UDA ties, were found during the searches.

The taskforce also discovered steroids, cannabis, mobile phones, tablets, a gun holster and ammunition.

Detective Inspector Heather Whoriskey said: “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.”

Anyone with any information about paramilitary activity can contact the PSNI on 101, or independent charity Crimestoppers can be reached anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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