New Ballymena UVF boss as Paul Gray ousted
Roly Poly terror chief Paul Gray has been replaced as UVF boss of Ballymena by a notorious sheep rustler, we can reveal.
The Sunday World has learnt that a well-known Ballymena criminal has taken over the reins.
But already things have started to go wrong for the crook, who earned a reputation for house break-ins and stealing farm machinery and livestock.
We can’t name the man for legal reasons but we can reveal he was convicted of a string of gun charges a decade ago that were linked to the UVF.
Sources have told the Sunday World the new boss is already unpopular with the rank and file after he started throwing his weight about.
And in one embarrassing incident he made a fool of himself when he tried to intimidate a young former UVF member.
“He made a fool of himself when he went round the houses demanding ‘dues’ from anyone who had anything to do with the UVF or YCV,” said a source.
“One 19-year-old lad told him he wasn’t paying him and that he wasn’t in the UVF anymore so he turned up at the wee lad’s house with two car loads of UVF men.
“He got out of the car and the wee lad came out with a bat of some kind. The wee lad was game as f**k and beat the boss all round his front garden.
“The lads in the cars didn’t get out to help and drove off. One of the cars ran out of petrol half way up the road. It was keystone cops kind of stuff.”
And the source says the new leader is so unpopular there have been some men asking for Paul Gray to come back as boss.
Like Gray there have also been rumours circulating that he has pocketed money on the sly behind the back of his UVF bosses on the Shankill.
“He’s not well liked,” said the source. “He made his name from stealing everything he could get his hands on. He stole guns for the UVF. But thieving farm machinery and livestock was his big thing. Tractors, cattle and sheep – you name something on a farm and he’s stolen it.”
Paul Gray was finally stood down permanently from the UVF last year after he was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from the terror gangs coffers.
A wide-ranging internal investigation carried out by the UVF’s Shankill Road bosses revealed that Gray and his pal Darren ‘Chink’ O’Neill had stashed over £250,000 in secret bank accounts south of the border.
Gray and O’Neill had been ripping off the UVF for some time before bosses on the Shankill finally took action. Gray had been running a loan sharking operation and controlled a number of drug dealers in the area.
A team of senior UVF personnel based on Belfast’s Shankill Road arrived at Gray’s pub in Ballymena in January accompanied by a leading member of the Progressive Unionist Party to tell them they were finished.
Local UVF members in Ballymena were rounded up and told that if they were prepared to spill the beans on the nefarious activities of Gray and O’Neill, then they would have nothing to fear.
However that image does not seem to have been improved with the appointment of the new boss.