The premature burning of a bonfire in Maghera has been branded an “attempt to raise tensions” by one politician.
James Shiels said that the fire at the King William III estate in the predominantly-Catholic Co Londonderry town was set alight on Friday morning.
Although he condemned the action, he said it had only served to bring the community “closer together”.
“I’m saddened that some individuals in the Maghera area are continuing in their foolish attempts to raise tensions in the area ahead of July,” he said in a statement today.
“By waiting until the middle of the night, sneaking in and burning down the community bonfire in King William III Estate, these people have shown their utter hatred of the unionist community’s culture and traditions...
“If those responsible think that raising tensions like this is in some way a victory then they are wrong. All this has achieved is to bring the community in King William III closer together and made it even stronger than before”.
He urged anyone with information to go to the PSNI.
Police said enquiries are continuing as to its cause, and called on anyone with information to come forward.