Northern Ireland suspends Brexit checks amid safety fears for port staff

Decision came after council withdrew 12 staff at Larne following reports of ‘menacing behaviour’

Brexit checks on animal and food products arriving into Belfast and Larne ports have been suspended amid fears over the safety of staff, Northern Ireland’s agriculture ministry has said.

The decision came after Mid and East Antrim borough council agreed on Monday night to remove 12 of its staff at Larne port with immediate effect, following an “upsurge in sinister and menacing behaviour in recent weeks”.

A spokesman for Stormont’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) said: “On the basis of information received today and pending further discussions with the PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland], Daera has decided in the interests of the wellbeing of staff to temporarily suspend physical inspections of products of animal origin at Larne and Belfast.

“The situation will be kept under review and in the meantime full documentary checks will continue to be carried out as usual.”

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