Part of Central Otago was in lockdown yesterday as police searched for a teen they believe could be armed.

The armed offenders squad, a drone, police dogs and cordons were also used search, in the Lowburn-Mt Pisa area.

The teenager, a European male, is believed to have fled Dunedin on Tuesday night after what is thought to have been a domestic incident.

Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said although the teen had not been found, police were confident there was no risk to the public.


"Cordons have now been stood down, although a highly visible police presence remains."

The teen's family was liaising with police.

"We are reminding people right through the Lowburn and Cromwell area to ensure that any vehicles are locked and buildings are secured, and that any suspicious activity is reported to police immediately on 111."

Residents were advised late yesterday afternoon to lock their cars and stay inside during the search. Some were shut out of the area for several hours, and Kerrisk thanked people for their patience.

Police believed the teen might have had a firearm and warned he should not be approached.

A resident, who did not want to be named, said locals saw armed police and had been told the AOS, a drone and police dogs were brought in for the search. The person also saw a helicopter, which they believed was part of the search, about 5.40pm.

Any information or sightings of the man should be made to police by calling 111.