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Police arrest four men after assault in shopping centre linked to UDA feud

The gang made off but police reacted quickly and apprehended four men in relation to the attack.

Superintendent Johnston McDowell said police had arrested four men following an altercation at a shopping centre (Liam McBurney/PA)© Liam McBurney

Steven MooreSunday World

The UDA feud in Newtownards, Co Down burst into shocking violence at a shopping centre in the town this afternoon, according to police.

Police arrested four men following a “disturbance” in the Circular Road area of Newtownards earlier on Friday.

Masked men, the PSNI say, attacked a man in the shopping centre at 3.30pm when the centre would have been packed with shoppers including children.

The gang made off but police reacted quickly and apprehended four men in relation to the attack.

The shocking incident follows a feud involving rival drug gangs connected to the UDA, which has been simmering for over a week now and has seen around a dozen homes attacked.

Police have tried to both warn and reassure the public about the escalating incidents which saw masked men take to the streets outside the courthouse on Thursday resulting in four men being arrested and a school going into “lockdown”.

In a statement released just now Superintendent Johnston McDowell said: "Police received reports that a man had been assaulted by a number of masked men in the shopping centre around 3.30pm. It was also reported that they then left the area in a BMW vehicle.

"Within five minutes of receiving the initial report, officers were in pursuit and located the car and four occupants in the Kemp Stones Road area just after 3.35pm.

"Four men, aged in their twenties and thirties, were arrested on suspicion of a number of offences, including assault and public order offences.

"They remain in custody at this time assisting with enquiries.

"Anyone who was in the area at the time of this incident and saw anything, or who may have dashcam, CCTV or other footage, is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1277 of 31/3/23.

"We are grateful to the members of the public who reported this incident to police. Community support is invaluable to the robust policing operation which we have implemented to conduct our investigations and deter further criminality.

"We will continue to 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.

"Rest assured that we will continue to provide regular updates to media; through our social media feeds; and through local elected representatives."

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