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Anger after Prince Philip tribute flags stolen from Orange halls

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The Queen sits alone at the funeral (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Queen sits alone at the funeral (Jonathan Brady/PA)

PA

The Queen sits alone at the funeral (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Police are investigating sectarian hate crimes after two Union flags flown from Orange halls in Co Antrim in honour of Prince Philip were stolen over the weekend.

The flags were stolen from Dunloy Orange Hall and Garryduff Independent Orange Hall.

They were flown in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh who was laid to rest on Saturday after passing away last week at the age of 99.

Police confirmed both incidents were being treated as sectarian hate crimes.

It's believed the flag was stolen from the Orange hall on the Garryduff Road in Ballymoney sometime between 9.30pm on Friday evening and 9am on Saturday morning.

In Dunloy it's believed the flag was removed at around 2.30pm on Saturday. Criminal damage was also reported to have been caused to the hall's flag pole which was cut down and taken.

TUV leader Jim Allister said the incidents were a " a gross act of disrespect and criminality".

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"The world has seen how Her Majesty the Queen leads by example and shares the difficulties of her subjects who have had to bid goodbye to their loved ones during the pandemic," the North Antrim MLA said.

"The observance of the Covid restrictions at the funeral was exemplary. Even in her seating at the funeral service Her Majesty managed to pay a fitting tribute to the life of service her husband lived.

“The contrast with republicanism couldn’t be greater. The petty action in stealing these flags will only serve to remind people of this.”

DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said it was a "disgraceful and disrespectful act".

"As we joined with with our Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and our nation to express our sympathy as His Royal Highness The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh was being buried, there were those sadly who couldn’t even allow that to happen without displaying their sectarian hatred," he said.

Police are making further enquiries into both incidents and anyone with information is asked to ring 101 and quote reference 1235 of 18th April for Garryduff and reference 1186 of 17th April for Dunloy.

A report can also be made using the online reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport.

Alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.


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