18 Jun 2015

Tear gas stops 16-year-old in loader pursuit

6:29 pm on 18 June 2015

Armed Offenders Squad officers fired tear gas into the cab of a front end loader to stop a teenage driver during a 90-minute pursuit in Christchurch.

Police were called to an address in the east of the city about 10.20pm where they said a large front end loader was reported being driven into fences and parked cars.

Images were posted on YouTube of the chase:

Inspector Derek Erasmus said the driver failed to stop for police and drove the loader at low speed around a number of eastern Christchurch streets.

"Shortly before midnight the vehicle was driven along Fitzgerald Ave heading towards the city on the wrong side of the road.

"The risk to the public and police had significantly increased and a decision was made to use chemical munitions to stop the vehicle.

"Canterbury Police AOS deployed one round of CS gas into the cab of the vehicle. The vehicle slowed and after the driver had jumped from the cab a police officer entered the vehicle and brought it to a stop."

Mr Erasmus there was "nothing funny about this incident at all".

"The potential for injury to large numbers of people was significant, and that's without even going into the fact that many thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage was done to property."

It was possible some people would notice damage to their property which could be linked to this incident, he said.

He also urged people to ensure they locked such vehicles.

"With so much construction equipment in the city, police urge owners to ensure their vehicles are locked and cannot be accessed by members of the public."

A 16-year-old was arrested and will appear in Christchurch Youth Court this morning.

Police say he will face charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, intentional damage, failing to stop, driving with excess breath alcohol, failing to comply with a prohibition from driving and reckless driving.