Northern Ireland news

Man ordered to remove anti-Irish Sea border graffiti

Neill Magill (28), of Herbert Avenue in Larne, has had sentencing deferred to await the outcome of his clean-up of a wall

A JUDGE has ordered a man to remove anti-Irish Sea border graffiti in Larne.

Neill Magill (28), of Herbert Avenue in Larne, has had sentencing deferred to await the outcome of his clean-up of a wall close to the town's PSNI Station.

The defendant was at Ballymena Magistrates Court today via a video link from his solicitor's office.

Previously Magill admitted two charges - causing criminal damage to a wall and also possessing spray paint with intent to damage property at Hope Street in Larne.

The offences occurred on March 22 this year.

A prosecution lawyer told the court that around 8.50pm a police patrol exiting Hope Street saw the defendant "spraying something" on a nearby wall.

The words "All Irish Sea Border staff..." were found written.

Magill made off and when he was caught he was concealing a tin of spray paint which he threw on the ground.

He did not comply with police and had to be restrained. A spray paint lid was found on him and two tins of spray paint were found during a search of his home.

When interviewed he made full admissions.

The court heard the defendant had a previously clear record.

A defence solicitor told an earlier court it was one incident of "anti-Irish Sea border graffiti".

Today District Judge Nigel Broderick asked if the graffiti was still visible and the defence solicitor said it was.

The judge said the defendant had indicated to a probation officer he would be keen to "apply himself" and get the wall cleaned.

Judge Broderick said if that was done it would be taken into consideration when he sentences Magill.

The case was adjourned to July.

At least two other men from the Larne area have been charged in connection with anti-Irish Sea Border graffiti in the town relating to an incident in early February this year.

During those cases it was heard there have been numerous incidents of such graffiti appearing in Larne and other parts of Northern Ireland.

EU customs rules are enforced at ports including Larne as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol - the section of the Brexit deal which keeps Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods.

Many unionists and loyalists have expressed strong opposition to the protocol and there have been heightened tensions in some towns.

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