Last week police spent 13 hours in a standoff with a man on a moored boat in the Tauranga Bridge Marina. As the man at the centre of the incident is sentenced in court, Sandra Conchie reveals how the drama unfolded.
A man sparked a 13-hour standoff with police at a Tauranga marina after he yelled "**** off, I have a gun", it can now be revealed.
The man at the centre of the incident on Wednesday last week was 33-year-old Andrew John Blakeborough, who was sentenced in court yesterday.
According to court documents, the drama started after police spotted Blakeborough driving on the Tauranga Harbour Bridge in a dangerous manner.
They found his car at the nearby Tauranga Bridge Marina and a marina staff member told the officers Blakeborough had hopped on to a boat moored in the marina.
Police approached the boat and smelled cannabis. They went to search it for drugs under the Search and Surveillance Act.
Blakeborough yelled: "**** off, I have a gun", police said.
The officers left the boat and cordoned off the area.
Police, including members of the armed offenders' squad and a police negotiation team, remained at the marina overnight after Blakeborough refused to leave the boat.
After hours of negotiation overnight, Blakeborough finally surrendered to police.
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Police previously told the Bay of Plenty Times the stand-off lasted 13 hours, ending just before 5am on Thursday.
According to the court documents, after Blakeborough surrendered, he was arrested and served with a two-year trespass notice for the marina.
But later that day, he returned and was arrested for trespassing.
When interviewed by police, he admitted he didn't have a gun.
In the Tauranga District Court yesterday, Blakebourough pleaded guilty to charges of wilful trespass and speaking threateningly through his lawyer Rita Nabney.
Nabney told Judge Tony Adeane that her client had been assessed as mentally fit to plead to the charges.
She urged Judge Adeane to sentence Blakeborough without a pre-sentence report and impose a rehabilitative sentence.
Judge Adeane agreed that was appropriate. He said he had a report stating Blakeborough had been unwell at the time of the offending.
The judge sentenced Blakeborough to nine months' supervision.
The sentence would include having him attend an educational programme and other programmes recommended by the Community Probation Service.