Northern Ireland

Belfast City Council removes emergency sleeping shelter in Victoria Street

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe box appeared on the streets of Belfast last week, as Michael Fitzpatrick reports

Belfast City Council has removed an emergency sleeping shelter that was in Victoria Street in the city.

The box, which offers temporary shelter for those who sleep rough, comes equipped with a mobile phone charger and a radio.

It was placed on open ground in Victoria Street.

A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said it had removed the box on the basis that it was there without permission.

It said the pod had been removed to ensure the health and safety of people using it.

The council said it was placed close to a busy thoroughfare and as it was made of wood, it raised concerns about it being possibly set alight. It said it was not in a fixed position

"We are trying to get in touch with those who put it in place," the council said.

Image caption The sign that was placed on the side of the sleeping shelter in Victoria Street in Belfast

It is not clear who left the box, although an email address on the side of the box was provided by the Common Law NI group.

A sign on the outside of the box states that the installation is part of a social experiment.

A man who used the box on Sunday night said he was disappointed it had been removed.

"I came back last night about half seven, climbed in it and went to sleep for about two hours, I came back today to put my head down and all of a sudden it is gone and I found out the council had taken it away, now that is not fair," he said.

"I am on the streets 24/7, just in a sleeping bag in a doorway, and I was in the box last night and it was the best sleep I have had in five years."

Those who put the box in place say they have received a number of requests to provide units for other parts of the UK and Ireland.

More on this story