Four crew members from an anti-war play were arrested in Belfast after bullets were found hidden in one of the costumes, it has been revealed.
They were detained at George Best Belfast City Airport when officials discovered 12 live rounds of ammunition sewn into the lining of a 1970s denim jacket worn by an actor whose character was a war reporter in the show, The Conquest of Happiness.
The jacket, which was bought online, had been placed inside a bag and checked into the plane’s hold.
A spokeswoman said the four suspects spent most of Monday answering questions at a Belfast city centre police station but were released when it became clear they were unwittingly carrying the bullets.
“The four members of the production team were arrested and held until 4.30pm at Musgrave Street police station and then released without charge,” she said.
“They are said to be shaken by the ordeal and the irony of being arrested for having ammunition whilst touring with an anti-war show is not lost on them.”
The jacket had been bought via the internet as a costume for Londonderry actor Dermott Hickson whose character reports on the horrors of war and genocide from Vietnam to Srebrenica and Rwanda.
“Little did he or any of the team know what was inside the garment they had bought as they performed on Friday and Saturday night,” the spokeswoman added.
The team were travelling from Belfast to Sarajevo for the first leg of their European tour.
Directed by peace activist Haris Pasovic the performance re-enacts some of the worst atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries including a scene from Bloody Sunday.
Its co-creator and artistic director of Prime Cut Productions which produced the show, Emma Jordan, was among those arrested. She and the three other members of the production team will now join the rest of the cast and crew for the Mess International Festival in Mostar on Friday.
The Conquest of Happiness premiered in Londonderry the UK’s City of Culture last week and will be performed at the Mostar’s Old Bridge, a Unesco World Heritage site which was blown up in the Balkan war during the 1990s and rebuilt in 2004.
The tour will close with two performances in T13 in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter as part of the Belfast Festival on October 25 and 26.