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BLAZING DENIAL Drug dealer once caught with coke in buttocks claims he had nothing to do with tricolour bonfire

'I collected for controversial bonfire but I didn't paint it', says convicted coke dealer

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Dealer Ivan Brown

Dealer Ivan Brown

Dealer Ivan Brown

A convicted drug dealer blamed for rising tensions in a Co Derry town has claimed he had nothing to do with a sectarian bonfire display outside his home.

Ivan 'Rocky' Brown told the Sunday World he had helped organise the controversial green, white and orange Limavady bonfire but said "boys" turned the Eleventh Night pyre into a "hate crime".

He has also denied being behind the erection of loyalist paramilitary flags close to his Greystone Road home after dissident republican political group Saoradh publicly accused him and a relative of "attacking" the nationalist community.

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The painted bonfire which was set alight early

The painted bonfire which was set alight early

The painted bonfire which was set alight early

 

"It's a load of f***** crap," he told our reporter on Friday. "I'm living here in peace and take nothing to do with nobody.

"Yes, I helped collect for the bonfire, but the boys painted it and it was the worst thing to happen, it's a hate crime.

"I have nothing to do with no paramilitaries and I keep myself to myself."

The bonfire, which sits just metres from Brown's Greystone Road home, was described as an "expression of hate" by politicians after images appeared of the structure on social media.

It had been painted green, white and orange to replicate the Irish tricolour flag.

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Those behind the pyre had planned to light it on the bank holiday weekend ahead of the Twelfth celebrations. But it was set ablaze in the early hours of July 10. Days before, a UDA flag was placed outside the premises of the town's Causeway Coast and Glens Council building, next door to a PSNI station.

Council staff who attempted to remove the terror flag were subjected to intimidation from "sinister elements", Deputy Mayor Ashleen Schenning said.

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"I have been contacted by people from both sides of our community and they are clear that nobody wants these flags flying," she added.

"Council staff attempted to remove this illegal paramilitary flag from our offices last night but were prevented from doing so by sinister elements.

"Those responsible for the intimidation of public servants have nothing to offer people here and must be faced down by our community."

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Bonfire aftermath

Bonfire aftermath

Bonfire aftermath

 

East Derry MLA Cara Hunter said she also contacted the PSNI and asked them to facilitate the removal of the flag, which she said was causing "immense hurt and distress" to people from across the community.

Dozens of the UDA flags appeared on lampposts across the town in the weeks leading up to the Twelfth celebrations.

Last week, dissident group Saoradh claimed on a social media post Rocky Brown and his associates were behind the tensions.

They also accused the convicted cocaine dealer of working with a senior UDA commander in Coleraine to issue threats against nationalists living in the town.

"Having liaised with numerous residents, it was explained to Saoradh members that two Catholic families have been physically attacked and intimidated out of their homes by UDA members," the Facebook post read.

Brown, who claims to live a crime-free life now, has multiple convictions for drugs and was once caught with a stash of cocaine hidden inside his buttocks.

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