Masterton police chase man 50 minutes on foot

A man fleeing police after allegedly taking a car from Featherston sparked a 50-minute foot chase across farms and rough ground in rural Masterton yesterday.

The 23-year-old was seen getting into a black Audi in central Featherston about 2pm.

His suspicious actions prompted a call to police, who set out to find the car and driver as the vehicle was reported speeding away from the town, travelling north.

Police set up cordons at several intersections along roads on the outskirts of the town and patrols were stationed at various spots along roads leading to Masterton.

A police patrol parked up on a lookout at Te Whiti, in rural Masterton, was alerted to the likely presence of the car when a driver signalled by flashing his lights.

Sergeant Simon Irving of Masterton police said the Audi had been abandoned and a man was spotted fleeing the scene.

He was running across paddocks near the site of Masterton's new effluent treatment ponds.

Constables Nick Bunny and Rob Hutton gave chase in what proved a marathon effort.

They scrambled over fences and across farm paddocks, at times having to avoid electric fences, keeping the fleeing man in sight.

Mr Irving said the chase at one stage meant the fugitive and his pursuers had to wade the Ruamahanga River.

After a chase of 50 minutes and having covered several kilometres of farmland, the two constables caught the runaway. He was identified as a Featherston man serving three months' home detention.

According to Mr Irving, the man had cut the home detention bracelet from his ankle before leaving the house he was designated to remain in and took the motor vehicle.

The man was escorted back to Masterton police station, where he was charged with unlawfully taking the Audi and with breaching the terms of his home detention order. He will appear in Masterton District Court today.

Mr Irving said the two policemen who had doggedly stayed on the runaway's tail after he had abandoned the car had done good work.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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