Belfast Telegraph

Men moving 'stolen' pallets for bonfire not Belfast City Council employees

By Andrew Madden, Local Democracy Reporter

A picture circulating on social media does not show Belfast City Council employees moving “stolen” pallets to a bonfire site, the council has confirmed.

The photograph shows three men, two of whom are wearing high-visibility clothing, moving pallets to the Donegall Pass bonfire site.

It caused furore when it was posted on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, as many believed the men were council workers who were “handling stolen goods”.

With their distinctive blue colour and branding, the wooden pallets in the picture can be distinguished as those owned by the company Chep.

The for-hire pallets are used in the firm's pooling service for retail and industrial supply chains and are not bought and sold.

On Wednesday afternoon BCC confirmed the men in the photograph are not council workers.

“We have investigated this internally and early indications are that these are not Belfast City Council employees,” a spokesperson said.

“The action referred to in the tweet was not sanctioned by Belfast City Council.”

Last year, Chep had to speak out against the burning of their pallets on bonfires in Northern Ireland, after hundreds of them were pictured on pyres in various locations across the city.

"Chep equipment is only ever hired – never sold. The Chep business model involves equipment pooling and our pallets are a valuable asset," a spokesperson said.

"We do not condone using Chep pallets for burning on bonfires, and we work closely with the local authorities and with bonfire liaison officers to recover our pallets from these sites whenever it is safe to do so.

"We make our best efforts to secure our pallets but also seek to ensure the safety of our people."

In June last year, Belfast City Council had to hand over hundreds of pallets it was storing for a loyalist bonfire to Chep after the company spoke out and claimed ownership of them.

The following month it was reported that more than £20,000 worth of the Chep pallets were to be burnt on the Lanark Way bonfire in Belfast.

Each of the Chep pallets are said to be worth between £15 and £20 each.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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