Two Jailed For Builders' Protection Bid

Two Co Antrim men who pretended to be paramilitaries have been jailed for their role in a so-called protection racket.

William McTaggart (38) of Carmeen Drive admitted blackmailing a building contractor who was carrying out work in The Diamond area of the Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey, earlier this year.

His co-accused, James Victor Jameson (47) from Shore Crescent in north Belfast, was also jailed - both of them for four and a half years after each pleading guilty to the same offence.

Jailing the pair last Thursday, Belfast Crown Court judge Tom Burgess said there was the "implication of paramilitary involvement" in the case.

Court heard how the building contractor was told to pay £15,000 so that work could continue at the site without incident, but that he contacted the police who undertook a two-month surveillance operation.

McTaggart and Jameson were arrested on March 8, shortly after the contractor had handed over £1,000 in cash to two men in the nearby Ballyduff estate.

In addition to their jail sentences, both men were also given 18 month probation terms to be served on release.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

11 September 2019
Man Charged Over City Centre Stabbing
A man in his twenties has been charged with attempted murder following a stabbing at an office building in Belfast City Centre on Tuesday. The incident occurred at around 2pm in the Scottish Provident Buildings in Donegall Square West, adjacent to City Hall.
09 September 2019
Belfast International Airport Rated Worst In UK
Long queues, crowds and limited shopping options have led to Belfast International Airport being rated as the UK's worst airport. The County Antrim facility achieved an overall score of 42% in a survey by consumer magazine Which? that rated 30 British airports and major terminals.
01 February 2019
North Belfast Woman Injured As Masked Gang Burgle Home
A woman has been injured in an aggravated burglary in north Belfast. It was reported that four masked men entered her home in Chestnut Gardens off the Cliftonville Road at a round 7pm on Wednesday 30 January. The 39-year-old woman was injured on the right side of her face as her property was ransacked and a number of items were stolen.
05 July 2018
Man Beaten With Baseball Bats In West Belfast
A man has been injured after being beaten with baseball bats during an aggravated burglary in west Belfast. Three men entered the victim's house in the Downfine Walk area at around 8.30pm on Wednesday, 04 July. They assaulted the 26-year-old man and it is believed they made off on foot.
06 September 2019
Translink Enhances Belfast Metro Services
Translink has introduced a series of enhancements on Metro services to simplify the network and make it more accessible.