Sinn Fein leaders 'face test' after Gerry Kelly apparently cuts clamp from car

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Sinn Fein's leadership faces a "significant test" after the republican party's policing spokesman apparently removed a clamp from his car, the DUP said.

Police have been notified of alleged criminal damage after Gerry Kelly was filmed appearing to use bolt cutters on the device.

He removed it after finding his vehicle had been immobilised while he was at a gym in Belfast city centre on Friday morning, the party said.

The private parking firm that controls the area outside the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) near St Anne's Cathedral reported the matter to police.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said he was not holding his breath waiting for action from Sinn Fein's leadership.

"They preach respect but show little or no respect for people, rules or laws which they disagree with.

"They preach equality but, to them, some are more equal than others."

It is the latest row to hit Sinn Fein after its West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff resigned under pressure after posting a tweet with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the anniversary of the republican Kingsmill massacre in 1976.

Mr Dodds added: "This is another significant test for the Sinn Fein leadership."

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statement said police in north Belfast received a report of criminal damage in the Exchange Street area of Belfast at around 2.20pm on Friday.

"It is believed that damage was caused to the wheel-clamp of a car."

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister called for the Northern Ireland Assembly member to resign and the police to take action.

"It must be demonstrated he is not above the law," he said.

A spokesman for parking firm PEA told the Belfast Telegraph: "PEA is aware of this incident and has reported the matter to the PSNI (Police Service Northern Ireland) as we do in all such cases."

NI Executive crisis
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams with Gerry Kelly, right, who is the party's policing spokesman

Social media footage appears to show Mr Kelly kneeling down to remove the orange device from the vehicle's right-hand wheel, before resting it against a nearby wall.

A pair of bolt cutters appear to be lying beside the wheel.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: "Yesterday, Friday 2 February, Gerry Kelly MLA returned to his car after an early morning gym session to find that his car had been made immobile by a clamp just after 7.20am.

"He removed the clamp from the front wheel. He left the device nearby and drove off to pre-arranged meetings.

"His solicitor is dealing with the matter and he will be making no further comment at this time."