A senior figure in the local logistics sector has called on the PSNI to provide answers on the source of the many thousands of blue and green pallets being used as bonfire material across loyalist areas - most notably in the controversial Craigyhill bonfire in Larne.

"Most people don't realise either the significant cost of these mountains of blue or red pallets or that they are the property of two global companies," explained our source. "In the 'cash for ash' scandal we had money being made by burning wood pellets, in this case we have 'ash for cash' as thousands of pounds of money is being lost in the burning of what are heavily-prized pallets essential to the logistics industry."

Our source says that the blue and red pallets are the private property of LPR (French-headquartered Le Pallet Rouge or literally the Red Pallet) while the blue pallets are supplied by CHEP, a division of multinational transport company Brambles.

GLOBAL INDUSTRY: CHEP pallets being moved for legitimate business use

GLOBAL INDUSTRY: CHEP pallets being moved for legitimate business use

A global supply-chain logistics company operating in more than 60 countries, primarily through the CHEP and IFCO brands, Brambles, ironically, champions its green credentials ceaselessly. "They talk about blue pallets which are actually 'green' in terms of the environment but the torching of their products on Twelfth bonfires is the very opposite of that in two ways - the damage caused to the environment and the energy used in replacing destroyed pallets," said our source.

All red and blue pallets come from a global pool and are effectively rented out by companies who choose to use these premium brands.

"The wooden pallets which you see extensively on bonfires and in business are bargain basement items in comparison to the blue and red pallets which have a long lifespan and are expensive to produce and to hire," said our source.

"If you enter a depot or yard and see a store of 100 or 200 pallets, they do not belong to the local company but to LPR or CHEP who can come in at any time and retrieve their property. They mystery then is how thousands of them, representing tens of thousands of pounds, can surface in plain view on bonfires across Northern Ireland. They were clearly not gifted by these two logistics behemoths which means they were either hired by the anonymous bonfire-makers, which is, shall we say, unlikely, or that they were stolen. If the latter is the case, then why is the PSNI not investigating rather than looking on?

"I have heard some suggest they were donated but one wonders how young loyalists might persuade a company director in Northern Ireland to donate expensive property which he doesn't even own. Either way, it's amazing that a blind eye is turned to this dangerous and damaging lawlessness."

Responding to questions around the ownership of the pallets, a PSNI spokesperson said: "If a report of theft or criminal damage is received by Police, evidence will be gathered, an investigation will be conducted and, if appropriate, a file will be submitted to the Public Prosecution Service.

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland continues to work with our partner agencies, elected representatives and local communities to prevent crime and keep people safe."

Le Pallet Rouge and Brambles have been contacted for comment.