A man who fired a rifle in a Carterton residential street sparked a four-hour standoff with armed police last night.

A 54-year-old man was taken into custody after he fired a .303 rifle when police were called to a Park Rd house around 8pm.

Central Police Inspector Brett Simon said the Wellington Armed Offenders Squad found the man inside the house just before midnight.

Police also seized the rifle.

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Mr Simon said other occupants at the house were able to leave earlier in the evening and police told neighbours to stay inside.