Police in Northern Ireland probe sinister graffiti threat aimed at Brexit port workers

Police in Northern Ireland are probing a sinister graffiti threat made to Brexit port workers.

The investigation was launched after the words ‘all border post staff are targets’ appeared spray painted on a wall in Larne, County Antrim, on Thursday.

It is not known who was behind the threat, but MPs have warned that dissident republican groups would see security checkpoints and customs bases in Northern Ireland as targets after Brexit.

And, as checks at the newly-installed Border Control Post (BCP) facilities spark fresh produce shortages at supermarkets, anti-Brexit sentiment is mounting in the region.

Brexit Operational Readiness bosses sent out an internal memo reassuring port staff that both the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Stormont’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) were investigating.

They urged port workers to report suspicious activity – but said it does appear to be an isolated incident.

A police investigation was launched after the words 'all border post staff are targets' (pictured) appeared spray painted on a wall in Larne, County Antrim, on Thursday

A police investigation was launched after the words 'all border post staff are targets' (pictured) appeared spray painted on a wall in Larne, County Antrim, on Thursday

A police investigation was launched after the words ‘all border post staff are targets’ (pictured) appeared spray painted on a wall in Larne, County Antrim, on Thursday

Border Control Post (BCP) facilities came into operation from January 1, effectively creating a de facto Irish Sea border for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland. New checks on goods have hindered the flow of food products into the country from Britain sparking outrage (Dublin Port, pictured)

Border Control Post (BCP) facilities came into operation from January 1, effectively creating a de facto Irish Sea border for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland. New checks on goods have hindered the flow of food products into the country from Britain sparking outrage (Dublin Port, pictured)

Border Control Post (BCP) facilities came into operation from January 1, effectively creating a de facto Irish Sea border for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland. New checks on goods have hindered the flow of food products into the country from Britain sparking outrage (Dublin Port, pictured)

The memo – which was shared with a picture of the graffiti – read: ‘To be aware, the below appeared overnight near Larne Port.

‘There is nothing to suggest at this time that this is anything other than an isolated incident.

‘However, this may understandably cause you or your teams concern but be assured that DAERA have engaged with the PSNI, who are dealing with the matter appropriately.

‘DAERA will continue to liaise with the PSNI to ensure that your health, safety and welfare, and that of our delivery partners, remains our utmost priority.

‘I would be grateful if you could ask your relevant staff to report anything suspicious in the area of the Port to either ourselves, PSNI or Port Security.’ 

Border Control Post (BCP) facilities came into operation from January 1, effectively creating a de facto Irish Sea border for goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland.

It’s primary purpose was to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – but new checks on goods have hindered the flow of food products into the country from Britain sparking outrage.

MI5 carried out an investigation into the terrorism threat linked to 'installations or infrastructure at the border' with the Irish Republic

MI5 carried out an investigation into the terrorism threat linked to 'installations or infrastructure at the border' with the Irish Republic

MI5 carried out an investigation into the terrorism threat linked to ‘installations or infrastructure at the border’ with the Irish Republic

Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Tesco have all faced supply issues – with fresh fruit, vegetables and chilled meat among the products most affected – after the new customs paperwork came in following the transition period ending on January 1. 

The Prime Minister said ‘teething problems’ were to blame for a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in Ulster in the past weeks – branding the situation as ‘absurd’.  

DUP MP for East Antrim Sammy Wilson said the only people who threatened violence over border checks were those in the Remain camp.  

He said: ‘And that includes people who time and time again talked about threats of violence from the IRA and republicans if there were border posts put along the border between Northern Ireland the Irish Republic and yet they have been strangely silent, the same crowd, when a border has been placed between Northern Ireland and Britain.

‘So unionists are the only people who never at any stage threatened there would be violence as a result of whatever arrangements came and arose from Brexit.’

The Prime Minister said 'teething problems' were to blame for a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in Ulster in the past weeks - branding the situation as 'absurd'.

The Prime Minister said 'teething problems' were to blame for a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in Ulster in the past weeks - branding the situation as 'absurd'.

The Prime Minister said ‘teething problems’ were to blame for a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in Ulster in the past weeks – branding the situation as ‘absurd’.

‘But I believe, and indeed there has been evidence already this week, that through political pressure and through using what leverage we have we can first of all get some of the immediate problems of the protocol dealt with and in the longer run I believe the protocol itself will be shown to be unworkable.’

He said political pressure should be used to solve issues over the border, adding ‘I don’t think anything will be achieved by writing messages on the walls and it has not been the approach which unionists have.’

A Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: ‘Police are aware of a graffiti incident the vicinity of Larne Harbour on 21 January. This matter is currently under investigation.’

Sainsbury's (Bangor, Co Down branch pictured), Marks & Spencer and Tesco have all faced supply issues after the new customs paperwork came in following the transition period ending on January 1.

Sainsbury's (Bangor, Co Down branch pictured), Marks & Spencer and Tesco have all faced supply issues after the new customs paperwork came in following the transition period ending on January 1.

Sainsbury’s (Bangor, Co Down branch pictured), Marks & Spencer and Tesco have all faced supply issues after the new customs paperwork came in following the transition period ending on January 1.

A PSNI spokesman added: ‘Police are aware of a graffiti incident the vicinity of Larne Harbour on 21 January. This matter is currently under investigation.’

Meanwhile, a source has said there are fears in Warrenpoint, County Down, that the Border Control Post there could be targeted by dissident republicans.

They said: ‘Where it’s located is at the Narrow Water Castle, and anyone who know the history about Narrow Water will know about the bomb that went off there.

‘So there is a credible threat as nobody wants to see a border infrastructure of any shape or description in this area, and similarly I don’t think the loyalists want to see border inspection in Larne.’ 

Last year, MI5 carried out an investigation into the terrorism threat linked to ‘installations or infrastructure at the border’ with the Irish Republic.

The intelligence agency said it feared the New IRA could become a more dangerous threat in the future.

Retailers have warned that shops in Northern Ireland could face further problems unless the EU is prepared to extend the 'grace period' in the Brexit agreement

Retailers have warned that shops in Northern Ireland could face further problems unless the EU is prepared to extend the 'grace period' in the Brexit agreement

Retailers have warned that shops in Northern Ireland could face further problems unless the EU is prepared to extend the ‘grace period’ in the Brexit agreement

MPs on the Commons intelligence and security committee released a report into Northern Ireland terrorism concluding that security and customs bases would ‘increase the risk of political violence in border areas’.

They also warned that dissident republican groups, including the New IRA, were recruiting ‘significant numbers of young people’.

The report stated: ‘Any infrastructure erected at the Irish border to handle customs or security checks would immediately become a target for DR [dissident republican] attacks.’

It said infrastructure ‘will be both a target and a recruiting badge for dissident republican groups’.

It also warned the changes may ‘reignite the threat from loyalist groups that have previously held a ceasefire’.

Link hienalouca.com

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