Couple remanded in custody over weapons haul

Police seized 18 kilogrammes of commercial explosives and eight handguns during a raid at a house in south Belfast, a court heard today.

William Sharratt (aged 42) and Eleanor Benson (aged 39) appeared before the city’s magistrates court in connection with the haul, which also included a semi-automatic rifle, 1,500 rounds of ammunition and a detonator.

The couple, of Burmah Street, were arrested following a police raid in the street on Friday.

Both deny the charges of possessing explosives, firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

The court heard police could connect the couple, who appeared in the dock separately, to the charges.

Residents were evacuated from their homes overnight after military experts were called to examine a house where the suspected loyalist weapons cache was discovered.

The PSNI made four arrests but two men were later released.

Sharratt and Benson were remanded in custody and will reappear via videolink on March 27.

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