British rocker Julian Cope has pulled out of an upcoming gig in Northern Ireland because of security concerns.

The former Teardrop Explodes star was set to headline at the Out to Lunch Festival in January (14) at Belfast's Black Box venue but has cancelled his appearance.

In an email to the event organisers, Cope writes, "It is with regret that I feel obliged to cancel my forthcoming Belfast show of January 16th due to the current security situation there and the logistics involved. I'm very sorry about this."

Event organiser Sean Kelly tells the Bbc, "In 15 years of organising festivals in Belfast, it's the first time we've lost an artist due to the security situation. We received an email. It was very sudden and inexplicable so we simply released it on our website.

"People have been critical of the artist, but I don't think we should rush to judgement too much. I take him at his word that he was genuinely fearful for his safety and we just have to deal with that."

Fans who have purchased tickets for the gig will be offered a full refund.