CONCERNS have been raised about street preachers in Coleraine who, some business owners say, are intimidating and off-putting to locals and visitors to the town centre.
The concerns come as an increase of street preachers that have been visiting the town centre in recent weeks.
One business owner said "I understand if you have a faith and can preach about it but it is hard enough keeping a business going at the moment.
“By a customer visiting our business it is meant to be relaxing and how can it be if you have got someone standing outside with a microphone shouting ‘this might be your last breath’ or talking about going to hell."
On social media, one local woman said "They stopped my 13-year-old daughter on Saturday and asked her if she was ready to die. Preached for 15 minutes, she was too polite to just walk off. When I wanted her to learn about God I sent her to Sunday school and GB, don't expect it down the town on a Saturday morning."
Under UK law, street preaching is legal, however, the controversial Police Crime and Sentencing bill, which was recently passed in the House of Commons, may limit such activities, if those preaching cause “intimidation and harassment” or “serious unease, alarm or distress” to bystanders.