Northern Ireland

Bonfire graffiti threat removal not a police function, says PSNI

Contractor graffiti
Image caption A contractor due to remove an Eleventh Night bonfire pulled out after threats were made

The removal of threatening graffiti that named private contractors tasked with dismantling a bonfire in east Belfast is the responsibility of the property owners, the PSNI have said.

A contractor due to remove an Eleventh Night bonfire from Avoniel Leisure Centre pulled out after the threats were made.

Graffiti naming an individual remains on a wall close to the bonfire site.

The PSNI has said removing the graffiti is not a function for police.

"Officers are in ongoing liaison with the property owners and with Belfast City Council in an attempt to ensure the removal of the offending graffiti at the earliest opportunity," said Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd.

He said the police "have been clear in our position that we will support other agencies to carry out their statutory functions in the removal of this graffiti".

The Avoniel bonfire went ahead after Belfast City Council gave up efforts to remove it. The police had told the council the UVF, a loyalist paramilitary group, were involved with the bonfire.

Image caption The bonfire at Avoniel Leisure Centre was lit on the Eleventh Night

This was denied by bonfire organisers.

The council said it wanted the police to investigate how details of the contractors were leaked and appeared in the graffiti threats, while Chief Constable Simon Byrne has denied the PSNI were the source of the leak.

He said "there are no facts that support the notion".

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