POLICE in Northern Ireland have urged the public to remain vigilant as tensions between feuding drugs gangs have brought violence to the streets for nearly a week.
Since March 22 a number of incidents have been reported in the North Down area, where a feud between rival gangs, who operate under the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) banner, has boiled over.
The PSNI’s North Down and Ards District Commander, Johnston McDowell said: “Police are investigating a linked series of incidents, including criminal damage and arson with intent to endanger life.
“These incidents are linked to an ongoing feud between two rival drug gangs operating under the banner of the Ulster Defence Association in the North Down and Ards areas.”
He explained: “Since March 22, eight houses, many of which were occupied at the time, have been attacked with a pipe bomb, petrol bombs and other implements.
“During this period there has also been two attempted hi-jackings and incidents of graffiti daubed on properties.
“All of these attacks are unacceptable but petrol and pipe bomb attacks are particularly reckless given their potential to cause serious damage to properties, injuries and death to anyone in the vicinity.
“The people behind these attacks have shown a total disregard for the safety of the community.”
He added: “This activity will not be tolerated and I want to reassure people living in North Down and Ards that we have already increased our policing presence across the area, so they can expect to see heightened police activity.”