Cars being removed from central city

7:56 pm on 13 March 2011

Police are beginning the process of returning up to 4000 cars that have been stuck inside the cordoned-off centre of Christchurch since last month's earthquake.

Superintendent Russell Gibson warns the process of getting the vehicles out and returning them to their owners will be slow.

Police on Sunday said that 374 vehicles had been returned to their owners with collection arrangements made with another 114 owners.

They said that police did not have owner details for a small number of cars that have been retrieved.

Owners are asked to phone 0800 311 311 to register details of their vehicle.

Police say the focus so far has been on removing vehicles parked on the street.

From Tuesday police will also be able to start retrieving vehicles from car park buildings within the cordon.

Car owners will need to meet at collection points which will be published on the police website to provide car keys so their vehicles can be collected.

Meanwhile, police are warning motorists that bad driving will not be tolerated.

They say the standard of driving has slipped in the city since the quake.