Noisy prank backfires for driver

Armed police arrested two men last night after a car backfiring was mistaken for gun shots.

A police spokeswoman said six people called police between 6.30pm and 7pm after hearing what sounded like a gun being fired from a moving car between Rai Valley and Okaramio.

Three calls came from Ronga Rd in Rai Valley. The other three were from State Highway 6 at Rai Valley, Havelock, and Okaramio.

Armed police from Blenheim responded to the calls, along with Havelock police and a dog unit.

Police stopped two men in a white sedan car on SH6 near Okaramio between Blenheim and Havelock. The men had been making the car backfire, which people had mistaken for gun shots, the spokeswoman said.

The sound was made when unburned fuel from the car cylinders entered the exhaust, where it ignites and causes the backfire.

Both men were arrested and released without charge.

The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle was issued an infringement notice for "operating a vehicle in a manner liable to cause annoyance".

Senior Constable Maurice Horne, of Havelock, said it appeared the men had been backfiring the car for about 40 minutes, the time it took to get from Ronga Rd to Okaramio.

He understood the infringement notice carried a $600 fine.

The Marlborough Express