Delays for motorists due to police operation in Bay of Plenty

A large group of motorcyclists stopped by police in Bethlehem. Photo / Andrew Warner
A large group of motorcyclists stopped by police in Bethlehem. Photo / Andrew Warner

Police have revealed more about a major road policing operation in Tauranga involving a patched motorcycle gang.

Traffic coming into Tauranga was said to be blocked back to Omokoroa as police carried out the operation.

Senior Sergeant Denis Murphy, the officer in charge of the operation, has now given more detail.

Photo / Andrew Warner
Photo / Andrew Warner

He said there was a "large gathering of outlaw motorcycle gang members" in the area to attend a memorial service.

"Historically, gang rides have caused public concern with members riding en masse. Rides like this intimidate other motorists and are a deliberate and provocative breach of traffic laws," he said.

"They are also inclined to endanger members of the public, ignoring road safety rules, with complaints of dangerous driving, driving with the wrong class of licence and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs."

Mr Murphy said while police acknowledge that the delays to other motorists and road users were "unfortunate" - he made "no apology for policing gangs".

Photo / Andrew Warner
Photo / Andrew Warner

"We will be monitoring their movements with a particular focus on road safety and on ensuring our communities are not harmed or intimidated," he said.

"The stench of methamphetamine and crime wafts along behind gang members, and police encourage anyone who sees or hears anything about drug use or dealing to let us know."

Earlier today reports on social media said a road has been closed and scores of police officers and cars are stationed at a roundabout near the Bethlehem shopping centre.

The bikies were being stopped at the police roadblock as they headed towards the nearby Wairoa Marae.

The riders are understood to be heading to a tangi at the marae.

A reporter at the scene said police had cordoned off a section of Te Paeroa Rd, blocking it off at the roundabout that intersects with State Highway 2.

He counted at least nine police officers on one end of the cordon and six police cars and at least 18 police officers at the other end.

He said he could see one of the police booze buses parked up nearby.

An eye witness at the scene said he saw two motorcycles coming from the north on SH2 pulled over by police and sent through the cordon onto Te Paeroa Rd.

- Additional reporting: Bay of Plenty Times

- NZ Herald

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