HUNDREDS of people queued outside Belfast City Hall this afternoon to take advantage of a free doughnut giveaway - until council officials intervened.
US giant Krispy Kreme had 7,000 boxes of doughnuts to hand out as it celebrated the opening of its first store in Ireland.
The Krispy Kreme giveaway in Belfast today seems to be promoting a shop opening in... Dublin?? pic.twitter.com/rel95UGJuy— Marke (@Massive_Nights) September 13, 2018
Long queues formed as word spread about the sugary treats and shoppers joined hungry city workers to take advantage of the lunchtime giveaway.
However, the freebies ended suddenly as council employees spoke to the Krispy Kreme team about the need for a permit to hold the event.
A Belfast City Council statement said: “This was a wonderful impromptu gesture that raised the spirits of people in Belfast city centre.
"However, Belfast City Council was not informed of the giveaway ahead of time and so had been unable to advise of the need for a permit to distribute free advertised goods.
“Our enforcement team work hard to keep the city streets free of litter so the staff member intervened as part of his daily duties to explain that to carry out this type of activity requires a permit.
“We encourage everyone to carry out random acts of kindness and understanding and can provide advice and guidance to support such initiatives.”
Krispy Kreme is set to open in Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin on September 26. The company has previously confirmed plans to open in the north.
In a statement released today, the company said: "We are keen to bring the joy of Krispy Kreme to all areas of Ireland both ROI and Northern Ireland, which is why we distributed free doughnuts to our fans in Belfast today.
"However, at the moment we are focusing on our first store in Blanchardstown, to launch our brand and we will then look to see where we can roll out further stores."
Last June Krispy Kreme, who have over 1,000 stores around the world, including the UK, incorrectly advertised for staff at a new store in the North Down district, but later clarified the notice was in fact for a new store in England.