Greasy rescue for battered chip thief

AIMEE GULLIVER AND JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2014
Mr Fish and Chips
Richard Cosgrove

MR FISH AND CHIPS: A man was found trapped in the shop's extractor vent.

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Police have charged a man who got stuck in a Christchurch fish and chip shop's extractor vent while allegedly trying to break in.     

By the time he was freed, the 19-year-old was a "slippery-looking character", covered in oil from the vats, police said. 

Police were called to the Mr Fish and Chip shop on Langdons Rd in Papanui about 2.30am, after neighbours heard someone shouting for help.

Inside they found "an unusual situation" - a man wedged in the steel extractor vent above the shop's cooking vats, a police spokesman said.

"He'd been there, possibly, for several hours,'' Inspector Derek Erasmus said.

The Fire Service was called to cut him out.

Central Station Officer Omar Yusaf said fire fighters arrived to ''a pretty untidy scene''.

The ''skinny chap'' appeared to have slid into the flue from the roof, but hit the motor on the way down.

The motor had four stainless steel struts attached to it, one of which was lodged between his bum cheeks.

His legs were dangling above the shop's cooking vats, while his torso, head and one arm were trapped in the flue.

''One arm was by his head, one was by his hips. There was nothing to hold onto and nothing to push up from. He was really stuck fast.''

''It certainly wasn't what I expected.''

Yusaf said the man was cold and sore. 

''I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. I think he just wanted to be out of that pipe.''

The extrication took about 30 to 40 minutes. 

The flue was ''caked'' in grease about 2-3cm thick, so once fire fighters cut away the steel struts, ''he just drifted out''.

The man's shoulder-length, curly hair was ''chocka'' with oil grease, Yusaf said. 

''He said to me he was embarrassed. He was obviously really relieved to be out of there.''

He was not the only one. 

''We were all covered in the same grease as him,'' Yusaf said. 

The firemen's uniforms and rescue gear had to be sent away for laundering. They binned their gloves.

''It was hilarious afterwards. It was certainly an unusual one,'' he said. 

The man was treated for hypothermia at Christchurch Hospital. He was expected to be discharged tonight. 

Police have charged the 19-year-old with burglary and granted him bail to appear in the Christchurch District Court on Monday.

The fish and chip shop owner declined to be interviewed. 

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