Men arrested in connection with intimidation of Catholic families in Belfast released

Two men arrested by detectives investigating the intimidation of four Catholic families in Belfast have been released.

The suspects, aged 37 and 40, were detained on suspicion of being members of the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). They were freed pending a report to prosecutors, police said.

Last week, Northern Ireland's police chief blamed the East Belfast UVF for issuing threats to the families living in a cross-community housing development in the south east of the city.

George Hamilton said the East Belfast UVF was behind the intimidation of the families in the Cantrell Close neighbourhood.

He said police were not sure whether the threats were supported by the leadership of the criminal organisation, or were made by individual members.

Cantrell Close, off Ravenhill Road, was supposed to be a flagship cross-community development as part of the Stormont Executive's Together Building United Communities programme.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Chief Inspector Gary Reid said: "Police are continuing to investigate the intimidation of families in Cantrell Close and the Chief Constable has recently said he believes the UVF are responsible for this."

Following the intimidation of the Catholic families, two Protestant community workers living nearby, both pensioners, were also threatened.

Last week, Mr Hamilton said it was too early in the investigation to say whether dissident republicans were to blame.

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