Two Nelson men who hitch-hiked back to their confiscated car led police on a high-speed pursuit from North Canterbury to Belfast last night.
Sergeant Colin Stewart said the car was stopped in the Weka Pass about 10am after a petrol station drive-off, and the 18-year-old driver was charged with theft and driving while disqualified.
He said that the car was seized by police and the men were taken back to the Culverden police station, where the driver was processed and released on bail.
The pair then allegedly hitch-hiked back to their car, which had not yet been towed and impounded, and managed to start it, Mr Stewart said.
When the tow company arrived to collect the car, police were alerted that it was gone.
A police pursuit started soon after when the car failed to stop for police in Waikuku as it headed south on State Highway 1 towards Christchurch, Mr Stewart said.
The car travelled "well in excess" of 100kmh, including in 60kmh built-up areas in Belfast, and police had to abandon the pursuit several times, he said.
Up to 10 police vehicles from different stations, and police dog squads, were involved in the pursuit.
Mr Stewart said the pursuit, which lasted nearly 30 minutes, ended when road spikes were put out in Guthries Rd in Belfast.
"They stopped prior to the road spikes," he said.
The driver will appear in court charged with dangerous driving, two counts of driving while disqualified, theft and failing to stop.
The 20-year-old passenger was released without charge.
- The Nelson Mail
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