Two arrested over Brexit graffiti at Northern Ireland port

7 February 2021, 20:42

Signs and graffiti were spotted around Larne Port
Signs and graffiti were spotted around Larne Port. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of painting graffiti condemning Irish Sea border checks as a result of Brexit.

Slogans and signs have been fixed on buildings in and around Larne Port in the past week and disputed allegations suggest port staff's car number plates were being noted by people hanging around the area.

Police received reports of two males at around 9.40pm on Saturday spraying graffiti on property on Main Street in the port town.

Slogans were painted at various locations in the town on Saturday, one stating "Larne says no to Irish Sea Border".

Explained: What is the Northern Ireland protocol? Will triggering it affect vaccine supplies?

Officers responded to the report and located two males in the area of Main Street.

Police searched a vehicle in the area and a number of items were seized and taken away for examination.

Officers subsequently arrested two men in the Church Road area of Larne on suspicion of offences, including criminal damage and possessing of an article with intent to damage property.

They both remained in custody on Sunday evening.

DUP MP demands Article 16 be triggered

Police are also investigating further reports of graffiti in the town on Point Street, Bank Road and Redlands Road.

Inspections at Belfast and Larne ports were suspended last Monday amid concerns over the safety of staff.

That came after separate graffiti appeared last month threatening port staff.

Officials from Mid and East Antrim Council, Stormont's Department of Agriculture and the EU Commission all stopped working at the facilities, which conduct checks required as part of Brexit's controversial Northern Ireland Protocol.

Environmental health staff from Mid and East Antrim Council returned to their duties at Larne Port on Friday. It has not been confirmed when the other officials, who work at both Larne and Belfast, might return to work.

Trade unions have denied raising concerns about suspicious activity at Larne port checks ahead of the council's decision to withdraw staff.

Announcing the decision on Monday, DUP mayor Peter Johnson cited "serious concerns" raised by trade unions over "increasing suspicious activity" including the recording of number plate details of staff members.

Police later insisted there was nothing to substantiate claims of number plate details being gathered.

The three unions representing the council workers - Nipsa, GMB and Unite - have denied making the claims referenced by Mr Johnson.

Much of the graffiti on buildings in Larne has now been scrubbed away
Much of the graffiti on buildings in Larne has now been scrubbed away. Picture: PA Images

TUS secretary Alan Law, on behalf of the three unions, wrote to Mr Johnson asking him to withdraw his comments.

It is understood the council did receive correspondence from a union representative prior to the withdrawal of staff that referenced members being threatened via graffiti and "potentially other methods".

The correspondence did not make reference to number plate gathering.

On Sunday, the council issued a statement in response to the unions' concerns about Mr Johnson's comments.

"The health, safety and well-being of our staff remains our top priority and our threshold for risk when it comes to our staff is very low.

"On Monday 1 February, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council was made aware of correspondence to Council's HR department from a major trade union setting out their concerns.

"Mid and East Antrim Borough Council staff returned to their inspection duties at Larne Port on Friday evening following the completion of a PSNI threat assessment and subsequent risk assessment by the Council.

"We continue to update our risk assessment in partnership with the PSNI, and correspond with the trade unions accordingly."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Keir Starmer has been welcoming EU leaders at the European Political Community summit in Oxfordshire

Starmer warns ‘criminal empire is at work’ as he urges European leaders to tackle people smuggling ‘crisis’

Both of them received community orders

Two asylum seekers who stole £25k gold Rolex in London's Soho allowed to walk free

It doesn't have to be that warm for your sleep to be affected

Revealed: the temperature that means you may not be sleeping well as UK gripped by heatwave

Trump gunman researched Royal family member during planning for assassination attempt

Trump gunman researched Royal family member during planning for assassination attempt

US President Joe Biden

Joe Biden ‘more receptive to standing down after senior Democrats turn on President’ as he battles Covid

Vance hailed Donald Trump as America's "best hope".

Donald Trump is the 'best hope for America', says vice-president pick JD Vance

Grange Hill and London's Burning actor John Alford charged with sexual offences involving a child

Grange Hill and London's Burning actor John Alford charged with sexual offences involving a child

Sir Keir Starmer will not seek a returns agreement in a meeting with European officials today, David Lammy has said

Starmer not seeking migrant returns deal with European nations, Foreign Secretary tells LBC

The Labour Party's commitment to establishing Great British Railways (GBR) is a monumental step towards revolutionising our rail network, says Clive Wratten.

King Charles's Speech: Opportunity to Revolutionise British Transport

Jessica Lawson drowned on a school trip in 2015

French lifeguard and local council found guilty of manslaughter after Brit girl, 12, drowned in lake on school trip

James Jordan addressed the resurfaced video

Ex-Strictly star James Jordan hits back after resurfaced training footage from show sparks backlash

Sir Mark Rowley has launched a major recruitment drive

Met Police officer numbers drop as force calls for 'thousands of applicants' in new recruitment drive

President Joe Biden walks to his car after stepping off of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid

Biden tests positive for Covid and cancels Vegas campaign event after saying he would only quit race on doctors' orders

Starmer is set to push for a migrant return deal with the EU

Starmer to push for new migrant return deal with EU, as he seeks to 'renew UK's relationship with Europe' at summit

Keir Starmer faces a challenge over the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer seeks to stave off Labour backbench revolt over benefit cap with child poverty taskforce

A man has been shot dead in Kirkby

Man shot dead on residential street close to Liverpool training ground, as police launch murder investigation