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'fanatical faction' Fears over new loyalist feud after UDA mob accuse UVF boss of 'touting' to PSNI

Senior members of the UDA group want to take out the UVF member who they think is a 'tout'

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South East Antrim UDA mural in Glengormley, North Belfast.

South East Antrim UDA mural in Glengormley, North Belfast.

South East Antrim brigade Den' Allo Allo' Elliott

South East Antrim brigade Den' Allo Allo' Elliott

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South East Antrim UDA mural in Glengormley, North Belfast.

FEARS of a new loyalist feud have emerged after a fanatical UDA faction accused a UVF chief of touting to cops.

Senior members of South East Antrim UDA want to take out the UVF man who they believe gave up their drug dealers.

The Sunday World understands the UVF man, based in Rathcoole, is aware he has been fingered as a police tout and has stepped up security as his home in fear of attack.

But South East Antrim UDA boss Gary Fisher refused to sanction an attack on the UVF man, further weakening his standing with rank-and-file members within his own terror group. It's believed he fears sparking a new intra-loyalist feud, piling even more pressure on the faction which has been facing a police crackdown.

Tensions between the terror groups is already high, with the UVF trying to muscle in and exploit tensions within Fisher's gang to increase their authority in the Rathcoole estate.

The UVF man who is accused of touting - who we can't identify for legal reasons - went around the Rathcoole estate and other loyalist areas close by demanding cash payments from alleged drug dealers recently.

He told them they had to pay money - ranging from £5,000 right up to £20,000 - to be allowed to stay in the area and avoid a UVF punishment attack. Many of them were innocent - but had to pay up anyway.

And now it's emerged the UVF heavy has also given a separate list of UDA-linked dealers to the cops.

This has trigged UDA fury - the terror group has been facing an onslaught from crimebusters in South East Antrim while the UVF in the same area have been left relatively untouched.

In the last 12 months almost a dozen alleged South East Antrim members have been lifted and charged with drug offences by the National Crime Agency working alongside the Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

In May cops arrested and charged four men in connection with a kilo of cocaine seized back in 2020.

One of those was alleged Carrickfergus UDA commander Clifford Irons who was charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine.

"Over the last 12 months the paramilitary cops (Paramilitary Crime Task Force) have been hitting the South East Antrim over and over again," said a source.

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"The UDA in Rathcoole couldn't figure out why all the UVF dealers were being left alone while their guys were getting caught left, right and centre.

"Some families had no involvement in drugs at all but still had to pay to escape being put out, or even worse.

"Some had to take out loans to buy their safety from this thug and then it turns out he's touting on the UDA's dealers to the cops at the same time."

And some of them think the UVF tout should be made to pay with his life but were told they couldn't by already under-fire SEA leader Fisher.

"Some middle-ranking UDA men in the estate wanted him to be shot dead because touting on fellow loyalists to the police is as bad as it gets," said the source.

"The UDA is the biggest paramilitary group in Rathcoole, much bigger than the UVF, and there are some UDA men in the estate who would gladly do the job.

"Several UDA men told their bosses they wanted him shot dead while others wanted his knees done but they've been ordered by Fisher to leave him alone, for now.

"This isn't the end of it I wouldn't have thought. He's crossed a line and there are figures in the UDA who won't forget."

Sources describe the UVF man, who has no convictions, as being well known for running off to tell tales to the terror group's Shankill boss Bunter Graham on a regular basis.

And until he was deposed, he was known for "telling tales" to the UVF's South East Antrim brigadier Den Elliott who was stood down last year for allegedly running unsanctioned rackets.

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South East Antrim brigade Den' Allo Allo' Elliott

South East Antrim brigade Den' Allo Allo' Elliott

South East Antrim brigade Den' Allo Allo' Elliott

"There was an old joke going round the Rathcoole estate that when (name removed) is on the phone he's either talking to Den Elliott or the peelers," the source added.

"But Gary Fisher doesn't want the hassle of sanctioning something against him.

"He's already under enough heat from the cops.

"And the blunder of the Housing Executive staff being threatened did him no favours either in the area."

Tensions in South East Antrim between the UDA and the UVF were already high after a summer of incidents and disagreements.

The UVF were seen to be trying to exploit the friction within the UDA and even erected new billboards of UVF gunmen and both groups flooded the estate with their own paramilitary flags in the run-up to the Twelfth.

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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