Pair arrested after chase ends in field

TRACY NEAL AND ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 13:00 10/12/2012
Beach Rd, Tahunanui
MARTIN de RUYTER/Fairfax NZ
PUNCTURED: Police cars stop an alleged stolen car in Beach Rd, Tahunanui, after a police pursuit that started in Stoke.

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A random police check of a vehicle in Richmond this morning led to a pursuit along Whakatu Dr, which ended on the Tahunanui playing fields with the vehicle's tyres shredded to the wheel rims.

Two men were arrested after the Mitsubishi Diamante they were in, which was believed to have been stolen, finally came to a halt on the grass playing field near the Tahuna Beach Holiday Park.

The car had run across road spikes deployed near the Annesbrook roundabout in Nayland and Quarantine roads, after the car turned off Whakatu Dr.

Sergeant Terry Richards, of the police highway patrol, said the car had gone some way on shredded tyres, after the spikes had slowly deflated them, slowing the vehicle.

Tasman police area commander Superintendent Richard Chambers praised the efforts of the police involved in the pursuit, saying they had done a "tremendous job".

"Pursuits are high-risk, but we have to balance the need to apprehend a fleeing driver with the safety of the public.

"Those involved did a tremendous job," said Mr Chambers, who had been listening on police radio to the pursuit from start to finish.

He commended Constable Mike Turner, who was on lone patrol on a police motor bike, and who initiated the pursuit.

Mr Turner said he saw the car in Queen St, Richmond, and attempted to pull it over for a random check.

"There was nothing untoward about it. I just thought I'd stop the car, but then he planted it and took off."

Mr Turner said it was not a particularly high-speed chase, but there were "some moments".

He said the public and other road users were very accommodating and there were no major problems.

Senior Sergeant John Price, of Nelson, said two young people were due to appear in the youth court this afternoon to face charges that included unlawful taking of a vehicle, various driving charges and theft. He said the theft charge related to a petrol drive-off about 7.30am today from a service station in Stoke.

Meanwhile, the Nelson Bays police area commander is praising the results of a weekend campaign targeting alcohol.

He was particularly pleased with drivers in Bridge St, compared with the start of the year.

Nelson police took part in the sixth trans-Tasman alcohol campaign, Operation Unite at the weekend.

The operation, a joint initiative of police commissioners across Australia and New Zealand, was part of the police effort to challenge alcohol misuse, crime, violence and antisocial behaviour.

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Twenty-four people were arrested in the region on a variety of offences, including breaching the liquor ban, disorderly conduct, and driving while disqualified.

Two bars were caught selling alcohol to minors.

Of the 2530 breath tests conducted by the police, eight drivers were arrested for driving with excess blood alcohol.

The police also issued 10 liquor infringements for underage drinking in a public place and 106 tickets for offences such as vehicle faults, and seized four vehicles.

Additional staff in Nelson Bays, Marlborough and the West Coast were rostered on.

Officers conducted drink-driving checkpoints, patrolled known trouble spots and conducted checks on licensed premises.

Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Steve Greally said today the operation had gone well, and he was struck by the change in the city since the beginning of the year. "It's a different place."

He was impressed with people's behaviour with alcohol, especially younger people, he said.

"People seem to be enjoying themselves, rather than drinking to get smashed."

The offences were also at the lower end of the scale, with offences like breach of a liquor ban down on earlier in the year. "That's really encouraging."

Bridge St was busy, but people were there in good spirit, and the challenge for the police was to keep it that way. With the city getting busier over the summer, with tourists and university students in the region, the police needed to "step it up", he said.

But district prevention manager Brian McGurk said he was disappointed with the drink-driving results, which at about one in every 300 drivers were well above areas like Victoria in Australia.

Nationally, the operation resulted in 448 arrests, 170 reported assaults, 135 licence breaches and 364 drink-drive offences, mostly down on last year's figures.

- The Nelson Mail

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