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Man in court on series of charges after armed police surround Coleraine house

By Nevin Farrell

Published 19/08/2016

Mark Kelly appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday
Mark Kelly appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday

A man has appeared at Ballymena Magistrates' Court charged with a number of offences including possession of an imitation firearm in connection with an incident in which heavily armed police officers laid siege to a house in Coleraine.

Driver Mark Shawn Kelly (43), from Knockantern Grove in the Mountsandal area of Coleraine, is also charged with possession of an offensive weapon - a knife - with intent to commit assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He is further charged with possessing an imitation firearm, in addition to assaulting and resisting police.

Objecting to bail, a police officer told the court he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

A defence lawyer indicated that no application for bail was being made.

No further details were given during the brief hearing, and the defendant was remanded in custody to appear at Coleraine Magistrates' Court via videolink on September 12.

On Tuesday afternoon, police including the PSNI's specialist armed response unit camped outside Mr Kelly's house for around five hours.

Officers sealed the road off and warned local residents to stay away from the front of their homes. A paramedic was also placed on standby.

Helmet-wearing, heavily armoured police officers were seen with powerful, high-calibre weapons trained on the house as they crouched behind the bay windows of nearby homes and used bushes for cover.

They used shields to approach the house and negotiated with a man inside with a loudspeaker.

Around 5.30pm, a man was led away from the scene.

A neighbour who asked not to be identified said: "It all started off at around 1.30pm when a number of police vehicles flew into the park.

"We were told to stay at the rear of our houses. It was very scary. This is a very quiet area."

Another added: "When I arrived home I was stopped by police and they told me to go to the back of the house. I was told by my cleaner that at the start of it three police officers were behind a police car with their revolvers drawn and pointing at the house over the top of the vehicle. That was about 2pm.

"Another two police were round the back of a wall. We were looking out through the blinds, then heavily armed police wearing helmets arrived and they used shields to move towards the back of the house."

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