Negotiators defuse Blenheim bomb drama

SIEGE: Armed police outside the Black Rose tattoo parlour in Main St, Blenheim, today.
SIEGE: Armed police outside the Black Rose tattoo parlour in Main St, Blenheim, today.

A man was taken into custody in Blenheim after police negotiated with him for four hours yesterday. The man had barricaded himself in a motel room and made threats.

Barking and shouting was heard coming from the motel on Main St at 1.25pm and police cars and ambulance were seen driving towards the motel. The cordon was lifted about 1.30pm and the man was taken into custody. 

A section of Main St had been closed to traffic and residents and business people had been told to stay inside.

The man appeared to be staying at the Blenheim Spa Motor Lodge, not the Colonial Motel as initially reported. The two motels are on opposite corners on Dunbeath St and Main St.

Shop owner Willy Wills is less than 50m from the Blenheim Spa Motor Lodge. The Black Rose tattoo parlour owner said police had told him the man was threatening to ignite gas canisters if any one came near him.

The armed offenders squad arrived from Nelson, along with a negotiator and has set up in a nearby warehouse. 

Main St, which is part of State Highway 1 has been blocked from the Sinclair St intersection, with traffic diverted along Park Tce and Kinross St.  

Blenheim Night And Day shop assistant Jackie Shirley said staff at the store on the corner of Main and Stuart Streets had been told by police to stay inside.

Customers in the shop at the time were told to walk towards central Blenheim, she said.

''We're not really sure what is happening,'' she said. ''It's a 'wait and see' game but we're all pretty positive here.''
Ms Shirley lives on Stuart St within the police cordon.

''For me, personally, when I leave work, I'm still in the cordoned off area. I won't be able to leave my house.''

Blenheim Night and Day has remained open. 

Relieving area commander Inspector Ross Grantham thanked businesses in the area for their assistance and understanding and apologised for the inconvenience caused while police dealt with the incident.

The Marlborough Express