Wedding revellers pose with fake AK-47 and Armalite weapons in west Belfast estate
Fake guns toted by guests included a fake AK-47 and a fake Armalite
A light-hearted wedding prank – which saw guests sporting fake rifles and handguns in a west Belfast estate – may have missed its mark.
Republican Emanuel Fryers tied the knot with long-term partner Brenda Smith this week.
But not only did he arrive in the back of a hired former RUC Land Rover, he and his friends posed with replica assault rifles – and handguns of the kind seen in west Belfast during the worst of the Troubles.
The fake guns included an AK-47 and an Armalite rifle, which was a favourite weapon of the IRA. But last night the police confirmed they were investigating the incident to discover if an offence had taken place.
The stunt – which also saw a boy at one point carrying a replica AK-47 – sparked a word of caution from a former member of the security forces.
An ex-RUC man – who worked west Belfast for over 20 years – told the Sunday World: “With the best will in the world – and I know there was no malice intent here – but running around west Belfast brandishing replica weapons wasn’t really a great idea.
“These fake weapons look like the real thing and it could easily have sparked a major incident. By doing this, those involved ran the risk of innocent people being injured or even killed,” he said.
And the former police officer added: “Apart from anything else, it doesn’t really set a good example to children playing on the streets.” But last Saturday, as Groom Fryersie – as he is known to his friends – and bride-to-be Brenda – who are both in the 60s – welcomed family and guests to their wedding at the Devenish Complex, the fake guns were centre-stage.
We made contact with new bride Brenda, but she declined to discuss the fake guns stunt.
But Bishop Pat Buckley – who officiated at the ceremony – said the replica weapons were just a piece of light-hearted fun which no one took seriously. He said: “I’m not really sure who arranged it, but it certainly made the wedding a day to remember.”
One guest told us: “Maybe Fryersie was nostalgic about the days he spent in the back of a police jeep!”
A police spokesman said last night: “No reports were received. However, police are aware of images posted on social media and are carrying out a number of enquiries to determine what, if any, offences have been committed.
“Possession of an imitation firearm may be a criminal offence in specific circumstances, however all circumstances are relevant. Relevant offences may be found in the Firearms (NI) Order 2004 and other legislation.”
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