Northern Ireland

Car recovery firms targeted by 'New IRA'

ACC Alan Todd
Image caption PSNI ACC Alan Todd said "several" vehicles had been damaged in the arson attacks

Dissident republicans have made threats against a number of vehicle recovery firms which carry out work for the police.

Two firms involved in work for the PSNI were targeted by arson in recent weeks.

PSNI ACC Alan Todd said "several" vehicles had been damaged in the arson attacks and he described the latest threats as "vile and reprehensible".

It is understood the threats have been issued by the paramilitary group known as the New IRA.

The firms help to recover abandoned vehicles and Mr Todd said they were providing a service to the public to keep the roads clear.

"Faceless individuals threatening people's livelihoods and threatening services provided to the community, and without any explanation of what their basis for doing so or what authority they have to do so," he told the BBC's Nolan Show.

"In any civilised society, I think it's vile and reprehensible."

Mr Todd described the New IRA as a "small but dangerous number of individuals".

"They try to exert their influence by fear, by shooting young people in alleys, by forcing people from their homes and by issuing threats against legitimate business people delivering services to the benefit of communities."

The officer added that the PSNI was targeting violent dissident republican activity "on a daily basis" and was regularly putting suspects before the courts.

He would not be drawn on how many of the firms which received threats have since pulled out of working with the PSNI.