A man who is reported to have threatened workers on a building site in Ashburton has been arrested.

Senior Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield said the man had a heated argument with his employer and made comments about using a firearm.

Police arrested the man at a residential address and seized an air rifle.

The 58-year-old has been issued with a pre-charge warning for threatening behaviour and has been referred to psychiatric services for an assessment.

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The contractor who was threatened is employed by Ashburton District Council, who assessed the situation and decided to close the public counter as a precaution.