OPERATION TITAN: 90 ARRESTED SINCE TWELFTH OF JULY

A car is set on fire in north Belfast as loyalists and republicans rioted in Belfast on Friday evening

A car is set on fire in north Belfast as loyalists and republicans rioted in Belfast on Friday evening

THE PSNI has set up a new investigative operation to bring before the courts those involved in rioting since the Twelfth of July.

The details emerged as four people faced a court on Monday charged in connection with disturbances in Belfast city centre on Friday night.

Codenamed ‘Operation Titan’, the detective unit has arrested 90 people since trouble erupted on July 12 after an Orange Order feeder parade was blocked from walking past the Ardoyne shop fronts.

The unit is headed up by Detective Superintendent Sean Wright who previously headed ‘Operation Dulcet’ which was set up in the wake of Union flag protests and resulting violence.

Between the two operations, almost 500 people have been arrested for a range of public order offences.

Since ‘Operation Titan’ was formed over four weeks ago, 67 people have appeared in court charged with public disorder.

One man, a member of the Orange Order in north Belfast, was last week charged with the attempted murder of a PSNI riot squad officer after he was struck on the head with a ceremonial sword.

Others have appeared in court in connection with rioting at ‘hoods’ bonfires’ last Friday in north and west Belfast to mark the anniversary of internment.

On Monday, Det Sup Wright urged anyone who has been involved in rioting since July 12 to hand themselves into police before officers came to arrest them.

Last Friday, officers came under sustained attack from protesters in Royal Avenue, as loyalists staged a demonstration against a republican parade.

PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott described the violence as “sheer thuggery”.

On Monday, four men appeared in Belfast Magistrates’ Court in connection with Friday evening’s serious public disorder.

Three of the accused – Jonathan McClean, 38, Simeon McCullough, 35, and 29-year-old Neil Rea – were released on bail.

Det Sup Sean Wright heads up the new 'Operation Titan' to probe trouble since July 12

Det Sup Sean Wright heads up the new ‘Operation Titan’ to probe trouble since July 12

he fourth, 19-year-old Jonathan Burton, was remanded in custody accused of riotous assembly.

District judge Fiona Bagnell said she had remanded him in custody because “he has more deliberately involved himself in the trouble”.

She said she would reconsider bail if he could provide another address other than Tennent Street where he currently lives.

McClean, from Moyard Gardens in Greenisland, Co Antrim is charged with riotous assembly, resisting and obstructing police.

McCullough, from Schomberg Drive in Belfast, was charged with riotous behaviour, resisting and obstructing police.

He denies the charges and was granted £500 bail on the condition he cannot be within 500 metres of any parade, demonstration or protest.

His solicitor told the court his intention was to be in a peaceful protest and that he has no criminal record.

Rea, from Simon Street in Belfast, was charged with riotous behaviour and resisting and obstructing police.

The court was told he suffered from post-traumatic stress order.

His solicitor said he had no intention of getting caught up in the trouble and he regrets getting involved.

‘Operation Titan’ is studying hours of CCTV and ‘heli tele’ footage to try and identify those involved in rioting since July 12.

They are also studying footage from news broadcasts and stills from newspapers to try and identity those who attacked police lines with metal gratons, masonry, fireworks, golf balls and smoke bombs.

 

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