Charges after theft suspects tackled

21:11, May 10 2011

A North Canterbury businessman is fighting charges of kidnapping and assault after tackling two alleged burglars at his Kaiapoi premises.

Clemence Drilling owner Dave Clemence was arrested after the April 8 incident, during which he and several employees tackled two men believed to have stolen diesel from the Smith St site.

Clemence declined to comment yesterday, saying he did not want to "pervert the course of justice".

However, he told the Northern Outlook newspaper last month he could not understand why he had been charged.

He said he took the men to the Kaiapoi police station on April 8 and did not know how the pair had been injured.

"It's unbelievable. Kidnapping? We dropped them off to the police," Clemence said.

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He said he would plead not guilty to the charges when he appeared in the Rangiora District Court on Wednesday next week.

Clemence said several of his workers tackled the men and held them down while he dialled 111. One of the pair broke free, but was chased down.

Two weeks later police asked him to make a statement, he said.

His company premises had been burgled six times in recent months, and his ute had been stolen on March 16, Clemence said.

Detective Sergeant Rex Barnett said the two men told police they had been kidnapped and assaulted by Clemence, the paper reported.

Police considered the injuries to be serious and "consistent with the claims of assault", he said.

The men required treatment at hospital.

Yesterday, Barnett said a kidnapping charge could include "just detaining someone".

However, he said he could not comment further because the case was before the courts.

Two Kaiapoi men, both in their 20s, have appeared in court charged with burglary and possession of instruments for committing burglary. They were bailed.

Yesterday, Clemence said he had received a lot of support since the case became public. No charges have been laid against his staff.

The Press