Wanted man leaps into Waikato River

A wanted man leapt into the Waikato River and disappeared from sight to escape police overnight.

Police searched the dark waters at Huntly for nearly two hours but there was no sign of him.

The wanted man was spotted walking down to the footpath on the western bank and when police approached him he ran off and jumped into the river and swam away, district shift commander Senior Sergeant Rupert Friend said.

"We're picking he swam away and got out on the other bank. Two boats couldn't find him after an hour and a half. There's a very slim chance that there might be body in the river because we haven't located him yet but it's highly unlikely.''

The Huntly Volunteer Fire Brigade was called to assist the search at 1am. Friend said there was a warrant for the man's arrest but he could not say what it was in relation to.

Police confirmed this afternoon that a river search is no longer required.