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Rural resident hailed for helping nab fugitive

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A rural resident who spotted a couple acting suspiciously is being hailed for helping arrest a man who spent almost a year on the run from police.

Officers were called to the small Waikato settlement of Pukemiro around 4pm yesterday after a local resident reported a man and a woman in the area, believing them to be burglars.

Police from Huntly, Ngaruawahia and the road policing unit were called to the scene, and stopped a car on a nearby road.

However, a struggle ensued as the pair refused to co-operate with police and pepper spray was used as the 31-year-old man tried to escape, Sergeant Damien O'Kane of Huntly police said.

"He was subsequently identified as a man who had been actively avoiding police since escaping custody last April and who was wanted on 11 warrants to arrest," Mr O'Kane said.

"He faces three additional charges of resisting police, possession of meth utensils and unlawful possession of ammunition as a result of yesterday's incident."

The 24-year-old woman was given a warning for obstructing police.

Mr O'Kane praised the actions of the local resident who gave police a quick and accurate description of the pair, leading to their swift arrest.

"The incident proves that offenders don't just hide in towns, and rural residents are just as at risk of criminals as their townie cousins," he said.

"The advantage rural residents have over those in the city is that they will have a better idea of who, and more importantly, who doesn't, belong in their area."

Residents have been urged to "shut the gate on rural crime" and immediately report anything suspicious to police.

- APNZ

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