An alleged car thief took a wrong turn for a joy ride today when he became snarled by a police march.
Counties Manukau police staged their annual Pay Parade, when they march in best uniform in front of their top brass, today through the south Auckland suburb of Manurewa.
On hand were retiring Police Commissioner Peter Marshall, Justice Minister Judith Collins and Mayor Len Brown.
Intersections along Great South Rd were shut down and a keen-eyed officer on traffic patrol at one of them spotted a suspicious car waiting for the parade to pass.
He noticed a broken rear quarter window in the car and after checking, discovered the car was stolen from central Auckland earlier in the week.
The driver was arrested immediately for the unlawful taking of the car and was also found to be a forbidden driver.
"It's likely this driver was regretting his decision to drive through Manurewa today," said Counties Manukau Police Central Area Commander Inspector Julia Lynch.
"There were nearly 200 Police officers marching on the main road with an additional group managing traffic at the time, all of whom have a keen eye for signs of a stolen vehicle."
The parade passed on to the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club for a District Awards Ceremony to recognise significant achievement and appreciation of Police staff and community members.
The tradition of the Pay Parade comes from the requirement for Police officers to march to the local magistrate's office every fortnight in their dress uniform and pass inspection before getting their pay packet.