The Argyle St area in central Whanganui was cordoned and searched by the Armed Offenders Squad after reports of gunshots on Monday night.

A spokeswoman said Whanganui police received reports of gunshots ringing out about 11.10pm.

The spokeswoman said no firearms were found in the area. However, a car was badly smashed up with broken windows.

An Argyle St address was searched and the occupants were spoken to by police. There were no arrests or injuries.

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An Argyle St resident, who asked not to be named, said she was just drifting off to sleep when she heard "an enormous bang".

"I first of all thought 'Was that a gun?'," she said. "Then I heard a lot of shouting and more fainter bangs of the same sort then the sound of a window breaking. It sounded like someone was hitting something really hard, like a tin fence or a car bonnet. It only lasted a few minutes but it was enough to keep me awake for a couple of hours.

"There was a lot of traffic up and down the street over the next hour or so which could have been the police. It's a really noisy neighbourhood - there's always something going on around here."