Loyalist thugs recorded on Ring doorbell demanding £10k from Belfast woman
Alleged UVF pair go viral after trying to extort cash on CCTV
This is the moment a suspected UVF thug demands £10,000 from a woman on the doorstep of her home in east Belfast.
In an 11-second video obtained by the Sunday World, a man can be seen coming to the door and in a brief exchange with the householder demands payment.
A second man remains a few yards away down the garden path.
The Sunday World is aware of the identity of the two men who are wearing woolly hats bearing the logo of a well-known Belfast football club, closely associated with alleged UVF Brigadier Stephen Matthews.
Matthews, who has been named in court as the leader of East Belfast UVF, denies paramilitary membership or involvement in organised crime.
We can also reveal the man who approaches the door in the video is currently on bail awaiting trial on criminal charges.
Police officers called at a number of addresses in the east of the city yesterday after the video appeared on social media.
And a PSNI spokesperson confirmed: “Police in Lisburn and Castlereagh are aware of a video circulating on social media. Enquiries are ongoing.”
With her dog barking, the bespectacled lady answers the door the man says: “Right luv, we’re here about your son, he owes me money luv.”
When the lady makes no reply he goes on: “He knows all about it like,” before spreading his hands and stating “£10,000.”
It is understood the woman’s son ran up a £600 debt to the East Belfast UVF and because of his refusal or inability to pay the gang have continuously raised the amount running the debt into thousands.
The pair in the video are linked to alleged UVF chief Stephen Matthews.
Parents face demands for impossible amounts of money in return for their son or daughter’s safety.
The Sunday World is aware of a number of cases in which families have re-mortgaged their homes. Others have taken out personal loans in some cases from the very mob to which their kids owe drug money.
“It is brutal,” one parent, whose son was threatened, told us.
“We had to hand over £7,500, and we couldn’t have done it without family and close friends and now we have to pay them back.”
She said she had heard of other families who have been forced to find eye-watering sums as high as £20,000 and £30,000.
“Who’s got that sort of money, certainly not working class families in east Belfast.”
The pair who came calling this week are being ridiculed on social media for being caught on camera with the duo being dubbed “Dumb and Dumber.”
East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson of the DUP described the footage as “chilling’’ and said that while the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) have made inroads more needed to be done.
“I understand the police are investigating this issue and I stand ready to support anyone caught in similar circumstances,” he said.
“There’s much more to be done to assist members of our community to live free of fear and intimidation.”
The PCTF has enjoyed considerable success coming down on the activities of East Belfast UVF, and yesterday PSNI Detective Superintendent Emma Neil said police will take whatever steps necessary should someone come under threat.
“Nobody should be threatened or subject to any form of intimidation,” she said. “If we receive information that a person’s life may be at risk, we will take all appropriate steps to protect the person whose life is in ‘real and immediate’ danger from the criminal acts of another.”
She said this week alone the Task Force carried out a series of searches in the east and south of the city as part of ongoing investigations into criminal activity linked to East Belfast UVF.
“In the last year we have conducted over 40 searches, made 22 arrests, 18 of whom have been charged, seized over £340,000 worth of drugs and 23 weapons, all part of investigations into East Belfast UVF.
“The searches and seizures are a demonstration of the PCTF’s commitment to tackle all types of organised criminality linked to paramilitaries, in an ongoing effort to rid our communities of the harm these groups cause and of their coercive control.
“I would ask anyone with information about the supply of illegal drugs to contact us on 101 and assist us in our efforts to make this country a safer place for all. Information can also be provided, anonymously, to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
A spokesman for Stephen Matthews last night said he had “absolutely and unequivocally no knowledge about the incident recorded in the video”.
“He again makes it clear that he condemns any and all criminal activity, particularly the nefarious drugs trade and refutes entirely any allegation as to membership of any proscribed organisation.”
Anyone who thinks they might have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs and would like to get help can visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info
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