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PSNI 'won't speculate' on claims UVF threatened Catholic families

Cantrell Close in east Belfast where a number of Catholic familys have been forced to leave their homes Picture Mal McCann.
Brendan Hughes

POLICE have again declined to say whether officers believe loyalist paramilitaries are behind sectarian threats against Catholic families in a shared Belfast housing development.

Four Catholic families have fled their homes in Cantrell Close – a housing development off Ravenhill Road that was part of a multi-million-pound Stormont 'shared communities' strategy.

Several politicians have accused loyalist paramilitaries of the threats, while a Sinn Féin MLA has specifically blamed the UVF.

On Thursday, PSNI chief superintendent Chris Noble said police "don't want to speculate", but added that its paramilitary task force was involved in the probe.

"There's an active investigation. We're working with the paramilitary task force to understand who is behind it," he said.

"Whoever it is has no regard whatsoever for what the people of east Belfast want in terms of a community working together and without division."

Asked again yesterday who police believe was behind the threats, the PSNI did not give further details.

In a statement, Mr Noble said: "We have an active investigation ongoing, but we need help from the community.

"If you have any information about this incident or any information about suspected criminality, please speak to detectives."

He appealed for anyone with information to contact detectives in Musgrave station on 101 or through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Housing Executive (NIHE) said several families had presented as homeless claiming sectarian intimidation.

Radius Housing, which manages the development, said it was "engaged with the PSNI, NIHE as well as our tenants, community and political representatives as we address this ongoing issue".

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