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Dee Stitt increasingly isolated as head of Charter NI

Dee Stitt has resisted calls to step down as head of Charter NI

DEE Stitt is becoming increasingly isolated as head of embattled community group Charter NI.

The alleged UDA 'commander' has resisted calls to step down from his £35,000-a-year post at the east Belfast organisation which was awarded £1.7m of Social Investment Fund (SIF) money earlier this year.

Its board has said the loyalist was given a written warning following comments made to a newspaper during which he described his flute band as "homeland security".

It also said it would continue to back the chief executive in his post.

However, the Irish News has been told that Stitt, who has a conviction for robbery, is unlikely to remain a Charter NI employee into the new year.

Sources say police are planning a crackdown on paramilitary activity in the Bangor area and have been giving intelligence briefings to the Stormont Executive in respect of Dee Stitt and several of his close associates.

The fact that senior members of the UDA are now briefing against him is also thought to have left his position untenable.

It comes after Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin told Radio Ulster's Nolan Show that there are connections within Charter NI to the UDA.

He added: "I would believe certainly that there may be an individual or individuals connected to Charter who have certainly been recently active."

The Executive Office described the comments as "not insignificant".

It said: "All those associated with Charter or any community enterprise must make a clear choice between paramilitarism and legitimate community work."

Opposition parties have renewed calls for funding for the east Belfast group to be suspended.

Charter NI's board of directors said PSNI comments had come as a "surprise".

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