An East Antrim Sinn Fein representative has called on the PSNI to set up a dedicated force to deal with the issue of guns being stolen in the Larne area.
Former East Antrim MLA, Oliver McMullan, voiced his concerns after obtaining figures from the PSNI which detailed the number of thefts of guns and munitions from homes, farms and businesses in the region between 2010 and 2016.
The Times understands that almost 70 firearms including shotguns and rifles were stolen during this period.
The Sinn Fein representative believes loyalist paramilitary groups are behind the thefts, an issue he has raised with the police on numerous occasions.
He said: “It is my clear understanding the thefts of the weapons is linked to UDA and the UVF.
“I believe most of these guns are still in the country and I know a number of them have been sold to gangs in Belfast.
“While these guns remains in circulation, the law abiding public are in danger and something drastic needs to be done fast.
“For too long I have been calling for action directly from the PSNI, but to date I have been left deeply disappointed by what appears to me to be a lack of interest.”