A Whangārei man accused of having a home-made bomb and illegal stash of firearms has been remanded in custody. Daniel Paul Van Houten, 36, appeared briefly in the Whangārei District Court yesterday after police raided an Otaika Rd property on April 5. He is charged with unlawful possession of a .223 AK-47, unlawful possession of a semi-automatic 308, unlawful possession of a pistol Comet Flare gun, unlawful possession of 308 ammunition and unlawful possession of .223 ammunition. He also faces a charge of unlawful possession of an explosive device, namely an improvised explosive device - a homemade bomb constructed from military or non-military components. He was remanded in custody to reappear in the court on May 1.

Fire restrictions end

The end of fire restrictions across most of Northland led to a flurry of fire brigade call-outs, including to a scrub fire Wiroa Rd, near Bay of Islands Airport, about 1.20pm on Monday. Kerikeri fire chief Les Wasson said the fire started when sparks from the burn-off ignited nearby vegetation. Two Kerikeri appliances plus a rural fire tanker from Kaikohe fought the blaze. Although the fire ban had been lifted, Wasson urged Northlanders to exercise caution before lighting fires and to pay close attention to the conditions, especially wind. Fire restrictions remain in force on the Karikari and Aupouri peninsulas.

Driver in court

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A 31-year-old man who allegedly led police on a chase was eventually driven to the Whangārei District Court in a police car. Police said the man failed to stop after two people got out of the vehicle on Central Ave in Whangārei about 12.20am yesterday. The driver continued west and was eventually stopped near Wheki Valley on State Highway 14. He was to appear in Whangārei District Court yesterday on charges of driving with an excess breath alcohol level, driving while disqualified, failing to stop, dangerous driving, and breach of release conditions.

Easter publications

There will be no Northern Advocate published tomorrow, and the office will be closed for Good Friday. While there will be no newspaper tomorrow, any breaking news will be on the Advocate's website, www.northernadvocate.co.nz. There will be an Advocate published on Easter Monday, but the paper's Robert St office will be closed for the day, reopening on Tuesday.

No rubbish collection

There will be no kerbside rubbish collection on Good Friday in Whangārei. The Re:Sort centre and the rubbish and recycling stations will also be closed. If your usual collection day is Friday, please put your rubbish out on Saturday. This change will affect residences in the south and west of the district. There will be no changes on Anzac Day, collections will happen as normal. Re:Sort and the transfer stations will be open. Transfer station hours across the district will change on the first Tuesday after Easter. The winter hours are listed on the council's website.