Burglars who took firearms from a Whakatane property escaped by ramming pursuing police cars and throwing a chainsaw at the pursuers.
Police said they were alerted to the break-in around 10.30pm on Saturday, shortly before the burglars left the scene. Police found the older-style SUV used by the burglars travelling along the road towards Taneatua, close to the Pekatahi Bridge on State Highway 2.
"At one point the offending vehicle stopped but reversed into the police car before taking off again," police said.
"The same police car and a second police car were rammed during two further attempts to stop the offenders, causing minor injury to one male officer.
"At one stage the offenders also threw a chainsaw from their moving vehicle at the police vehicle that was following it."
The offenders' large SUV, similar to a Pajero, Bighorn or Prada, was last seen heading south on Reid Rd, travelling away from Taneatua.
The alarm was raised by the victim who heard suspicious noises from a shed on his property. The burglars left a couple of minutes later, taking a firearms safe containing two firearms and ammunition. They also took chainsaws, fishing equipment and a lawnmower, police said.
At least two burglars were thought to be involved, and the dark-coloured SUV they used would have extensive rear damage.
Anyone who knew the identity of the vehicle or the offenders, or had any other information which could help, was asked to contact Whakatane police on 07 308 5255. Information could also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
- Fairfax Media