Questions have been raised about the origin of hundreds of Sinn Fein election leaflets that appeared to have been dumped on the streets of Upperlands at the weekend.
Ulster Unionist candidate Sandra Overend first raised the issue on Twitter, asking if “this was some form of intimidation or pure laziness by Sinn Fein?” Adding “No votes here!”
DUP candidate Ian McCrea later hit out at the mess, saying: “Local residents around the Beeches area of Upperlands are disgusted by this behaviour and this surely brings Sinn Fein canvassing to a new low.”
But Sinn Fein candidate Ian Milne, whose face was on the leaflets, said he knows nothing about the incident and after going to Upperlands to clean it up, plans to investigate the matter.
“Our canvassers have been involved in elections for many years and never before has an incident such as this occurred in Upperlands or anywhere else,” he said.
“I would question the motives of whoever was responsible for this littering as it is clearly not in the interests of Sinn Féin or myself as a candidate.
“This incident follows on from the recent theft of Sinn Féin posters which I have already reported to police. It would appear to be more of an anti Sinn Féin agenda and a poor attempt at smearing both the candidate and the election agent.
“In my efforts to totally distance Sinn Féin from this action I, along with the election agent have personally went to Upperlands and lifted all of the material that has been scattered along the road.
“I will be making further investigations as to how this material came to be here but I can without doubt make it clear that this behaviour is unacceptable and is in no way down to the actions of Sinn Féin canvassers.”