guns 'n' poses  | 

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

Groom-to-be Manuel Fryers travelled to his wedding in a former RUC Land Rover

Hugh Jordan

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.

Guests at the wedding of Maunuel Fryers to Brenda Smith pose with fake hand guns beside a former RUC Land Rover, which was used as the wedding car

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.

Fryers, along with wedding guests pose for photos beside the former RUC Land Rover

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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