Arrests after couch burnings during Otago University's Orientation Week

Couch burning in Dunedin is once again marring Otago University's Orientation Week, with reports of five arrests late last night.

Herald video footage shot on Castle St shows a couch well ablaze and, at one stage, a young man jumping through the flames.

The fire service and police attended the incident and extinguished the burning couch.

In the video people can be seen drinking and shouting around the couch.

A fire service spokesman told the Otago Daily Times that firefighters from Willowbank Station were called to four couch fires between 9.30pm yesterday and 2.51am today.

The firefighters were first sent to extinguish a couch fire and a tree on George St, then another couch on fire in front of a house on Castle St at 10.56pm, and shortly after midnight they were called to extinguish a couch fire burning in the middle of Leith St.

Finally, another couch fire was extinguished on Howe St just before 3am.

Police dogs were also called to a George St business in North Dunedin, the Daily Times reported, after three men unlawfully entered an office area about 4am today and stole a bottle of wine.

Senior Sergeant Darryl Lennane, of Dunedin, said police had been busy in North Dunedin overnight.

"We attended a number of calls relating to the disorder in the North Dunedin area."

Five people were arrested in relation to the calls and four people were given pre-charge warnings.

The other man refused to give his name to police and remained in custody today. He would appear in Dunedin District Court. Of the five people arrested last night, only one was reportedly a student.

Police say most of the issues are being caused by non-students turning up uninvited to parties, Fairfax reported.

There have been 13 people arrested in the student area of Dunedin since Orientation Week started.

Only three of those were students.

- NZ Herald

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