Charges follow armed alert

TENSE SITUATION: A man was taken into custody after an armed offenders alert.
TENSE SITUATION: A man was taken into custody after an armed offenders alert.

A man who barricaded himself into a Blenheim motel room and threatened to blow it up also faces burglary charges in Nelson.

The 40-year-old man, whose last address given to police was the Nelson Night Shelter, was arrested after a 31/2-hour standoff  in central Blenheim that sparked an armed offenders callout.

The man was charged with a burglary and theft of St Stephen's Church in Tahunanui on Sunday. Cash was stolen from a safe at the church during a break-in.

He also faces a charge of burglary from  Takaka Outreach Mental Health Services and a charge of theft from the Hangdog Campdhground. He was scheduled to appear next in the Nelson District Court on February 11 on those charges.

A team of 21 police officers, including the armed offenders squad (AOS) and police negotiators from Nelson went to Blenheim Spa Motor Lodge, on Main St.

Relieving Marlborough area commander Inspector Ross Grantham said the man was naked with multiple cuts to his body when he gave himself up.

Police had been alerted to the situation about 10am yesterday by a media outlet that had received calls from a man threatening to harm others in Blenheim.

Police negotiators set up in a shop near the motel and talked to the man on the phone while he was inside his motel room.

They  talked him out of the room about 1.30pm.

He had been threatening to hurt himself and others with explosive devices if police tried to enter the room, Mr Grantham said.

No explosive devices or any dhother threatening equipment were found in the room.

The man had posted messages on his Facebook page on Saturday saying he would ''bring an end to it all'' and ''there was no point trying anymore''.

He said he had tried to get help from everyone including doctors, police and Work and Income, and everyone had told him to ''F... off''.

He said he had no benefit, job or anywhere to live.

The man had stayed at the Atlantis Backpackers in Picton over the Christmas period where he had worked as a woofer and painted a mural.

Owner Sheira Hudson said she had concerns about the man's mental health as he was obviously  needy. She said the man was not bad, but was unable to get the help he needed.

She said the backpackers from time to time had people with similar issues and it was tragic that there was little help available as they did not fit in anywhere and there were few services available for them.

A Christchurch woman ntsGsaidnte said she had been in contact with the man before the incident and had been concerned about his welfare.

She had called police and asked them to get him an ambulance, she said. Mr Grantham said the man was  treated at the scene by St John for cuts to his body and taken to Wairau Hospital.

A hospital spokeswoman said the man had minor injuries and had been discharged into police custody.
The man was taken into custody on two warrants for his arrest relating to incidents in Nelson and was to appear in the Blenheim District Court this afternoon.

He has been charged with wilful damage, threatening behaviour, possessions of utensils to smoke methamphetamine and making a false complaint in relation to yesterday's incident. A section of Main St was closed to traffic during the incident and residents and shop workers told to stay inside.

Mr Grantham thanked businesses in the area for their assistance and understanding and apologised for the inconvenience.

Shop owner Willy Wills was less than 50 metres from the Blenheim Spa Motor Lodge in his Black Rose tattoo parlour on Main St during the incident. He said police had told him the man was threatening to ignite gas canisters if anyone came near him.