Police have described as "brutal and barbaric" an attack on a man who was tarred and feathered in south Belfast.
The attack is believed to have been carried out by two men
It is thought the attack was carried out on Sunday evening by two men wearing balaclavas, as a crowd including women and children looked on.
The victim was made to wear a placard reading "I'm a drug-dealing scumbag".
Elements of the UDA were blamed for the attack by politicians, although its political wing denied the loyalist paramilitary group was responsible.
Frankie Gallagher of the Ulster Political Research Group said "local people had gone to the UDA to ask them to sort it out", but that it told them to go to the police.
He claims that the police then failed to act on information passed on and that people in the area decided to take the matter into their own hands.
In a statement, the police said there was "no place in civilised society for people taking the law into their own hands resulting in such a brutal and barbaric attack".
"We have been working closely with local community groups to try and address these issues and find solutions.
"If people have concerns and grievances about what is happening in their local community they should bring that evidence to the police."
Although the police were made aware of the incident at Finwood Park in Taughmonagh, by the time officers arrived in the loyalist estate, neither the victim nor his attackers could be found.
Alliance leader David Ford said: "Despite denials from the UPRG, most people will find it very hard to believe that the UDA was not involved in this despicable act."
'Thuggery and violence'
Northern Ireland's Social Development Margaret Ritchie warned that UDA involvement would have serious repercussions for government funding of a loyalist project.
"If the UDA is involved, it is a stark demonstration of the thuggery and violence which I made clear has to end if the funding to the CTI (Conflict Transformation Initiative) project is to continue," said the SDLP assembly member.
Ms Ritchie's direct rule predecessor initiated the £1.2m scheme which aimed to encourage redevelopment in loyalist communities through the UDA-aligned UPRG.
Earlier this month, Ms Ritchie said she would withdraw support from the project unless there was clear evidence of decommissioning and reduced criminality.