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Fear of further violence as gang attack on woman and two men with sledgehammers linked to UDA

Tensions in the town have been high after graffiti aimed at alleged UDA boss Marcus Boreland (47) appeared on walls

Police and forensic officers at the scene of the incident in the Meadow View area of Ballymoney on Monday night.

DUP councillor Mervyn Storey

Alleged UDA boss Marcus Boreland

Allison MorrisBelfast Telegraph

There are fears of further attacks in the north Antrim area as an increasingly violent dispute in Ballymoney has been linked to the UDA.

A woman and two men were attacked by a gang armed with a crowbar, sledgehammers and baseball bats at a house in Ballymoney on Monday.

Five masked men entered the house in the Meadow View area shortly after 8.30pm.

The three people in the house sustained serious injuries during the assault and each of them needed hospital treatment.

There is no suggestion that any of the victims are linked to loyalist paramilitaries.

However, tensions in the town have been high after graffiti aimed at alleged UDA boss Marcus Boreland (47) appeared on walls in the town.

Boreland, who once served a prison sentence for threatening the life of a Catholic work colleague, also works as a doorman and was employed as security during a recent Royal visit to Northern Ireland by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Alleged UDA boss Marcus Boreland

Boreland served a nine-month sentence on the loyalist wing of Maghaberry Prison - admission to which is by invite only from the UDA or UVF – for the threats made to his Catholic work colleague, during which the man was told he would be “shot by the Red Hand Defenders”.

In 2006, the high court seized half-a-million pounds worth of assets from Boreland which prosecutors said were obtained via VAT fraud.

The haul included a holiday home in Turkey, bank accounts, profits from the sale of two properties and three top of the range cars.

There are fears that there could be further attacks following Monday’s violent incident that left the victims suffering horrific injuries.

Detective Inspector MacCionáoith from the PSNI said that “substantial damage was caused to the inside of the house and a vehicle parked outside”.

"This was a terrifying experience for the occupants of the property who all required medical treatment for their injuries," said the officer.

"Our investigation is now underway to establish what happened, who was involved and a motive.”

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said it was also called to the scene on Monday.

Ulster Unionist councillor Darryl Wilson, said a significant search operation was under way as a result of the attack.

"It is my understanding that the PSNI are carrying out door to door enquiries at present as well as the significant search operation which is ongoing,” he said.

DUP councillor Mervyn Storey told BBC News NI the assault "has caused a lot of disquiet and disruption in the Meadow View estate".

"Whatever reason people had for carrying out this attack, there can be absolutely no justification for it," Mr Storey added.

TUV leader Jim Allister said the attack was “horrific and will be condemned by all right-thinking people”.

“The details of the attack on the three people who have been hospitalised are truly horrendous,” he added.

“I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward to the police and will be pressing the PSNI to ensure that the guilty are relentlessly pursued.”

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