DUP MLA condemns 'despicable' pro-Russian graffiti at iconic Game of Thrones site

DUP MLA condemns 'despicable' pro-Russian graffiti at iconic Game of Thrones site

A DUP politician has condemned pro-Russian graffiti that has appeared at an iconic Co. Antrim tourist spot made famous by hit TV show Game of Thrones.

Mervyn Storey, MLA for North Antrim, described the vandalism at the Dark Hedges as 'despicable', given the arrival this week of Ukrainian refugees to the area.

A section of Bredagh Avenue, which runs through a tunnel of beech trees at the site, was daubed with the slogan 'Z Glory to Russia!'.

The letter Z is one of several symbols painted on Russian military vehicles during the invasion of Ukraine.

Condemning the vandalism, Mr Storey said he would be working to ensure the graffiti was removed as soon as possible.

"This is a wanton act of vandalism at one of Northern Ireland's most iconic locations," he told DUP Online.

"It is completely at odds with the warm welcome our local community provide to tourists from all over the world who come to see what the Dark Hedges and the North Coast have to offer.

"This week I was pleased to be able to welcome refugees from Ukraine into my own church community.

"It is despicable that they should have to encounter this type of behaviour glorifying Russia's oppressive campaign of terror in their homeland.

"Our support must be with the people of Ukraine.

"I will be working closely with local authorities and the PSNI to ensure this graffiti is removed immediately and those responsible held to account."

The Dark Hedges has become a popular tourist destination since featuring in the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones.

A ban on traffic along part of the road has been in place since October 2017 over fears increased traffic could damages the trees' roots.

The beech trees at the site are believed to have been planted around 1775.