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Nelson police say it's lucky no one was killed after three teens crashed a stolen car in the centre of the city late last night.

Sergeant Stephen Savage said a Subaru Impreza was stolen from a car yard in Richmond about 11.20pm yesterday.

It was seen driving erratically before the 16-year-old driver lost control in Selwyn Place, in Nelson's town centre, he said.

The car collided with a stationary police car, mounted the footpath and struck a bench seat and tree.

Both cars were extensively damaged, he said.

"It is fortunate that nobody was seriously injured or killed given that this occurred in an area heavily used by the public."

Two 16-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy were arrested at the scene.

They are due to appear in Nelson Youth Court this morning charged with several offences, including unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and reckless driving.