Detectives investigating a report of criminal activity in the Weaver’s Grange area of Newtownards on Thursday 6th April 2023 have arrested 11 men this week. As a result of Police investigations, the 11 men have been charged with a range of offences including unlawful assembly and affray.
The 11 men range in age from 24 to 56 and Police believe that the activity on 6th April at Weavers Grange is linked to the ongoing feud between rival drugs groups across Ards and North Down.
Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton, Local Policing, said: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland does not tolerate any type of vigilante activity and we would caution any individual or group against taking the law into their own hands. These arrests are a powerful reminder that police are responsible for law enforcement in Northern Ireland - we are here to protect local people and we are proud to serve them.
“Those who engage in vigilante behaviour, whether claiming to represent an illegal paramilitary organisation or not, are usually only interested in asserting their own control and influence over local communities, with no regard for wider community concerns.
“I want to reiterate our message that we urge residents of Newtownards to remain vigilant and to continue reporting any concerns to us so we can take the appropriate action.
“The impact of this criminal behaviour is being felt both in the local community and has wider impact on our service. The total cost of the policing operation relating to the North Down feud is £476,000.
“This drain on our resources is coming at a time of stark budgetary pressures with fewer officers. Our key priority is to keep our communities in Newtownards and across Northern Ireland safe.
“We will maintain a presence in the area through high visibility patrols by our Neighbourhood and Local Policing Teams, along with the specialist expertise of our Armed Response units and Tactical Support Group officers.
“We are grateful to the members of the public who have reported a number of incidents to police recently. Community support is invaluable to the robust policing operation which we have implemented to conduct our investigations and deter further criminality.”