Three people who tried to flee police by driving at speed on to Ninety Mile Beach at high tide were later found hiding in the dunes.

A driver with two passengers led police on a chase from Awanui to Ahipara, via Gill Rd and Sandhills Rd, on Tuesday, then hurtled at high speed on to Ninety Mile Beach at the Kaka St access, where about 20 people were gathered.

With the tide high the police weren't game to follow the Subaru Legacy on to the beach, so they waited for it, at Ahipara and Waipapakauri Ramp.

Some time later, with the tide falling, they found the car and its occupants behind the dunes at Waimimiha, east of Ahipara. One of the men was charged with aggravated failing to stop, driving while disqualified and reckless driving.

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The two men and a woman, in their 20s and 30s, were also all found to be subject to warrants to arrest for failing to appear in court on a variety of charges.

They were described by police as local although the car was registered to an owner in Dargaville. It was not known yesterday whether it had been stolen.

The chase began after the car passed a police speed check at Awanui, then sped off.