Christchurch police are urging owners of cars trapped in the central business district (CBD) of the quake-shattered city to hand over their keys, so they can be retrieved.

Public carparks in the CBD have been cleared over the past week, and police were now focusing on retrieving cars from CBD streets, public spaces, and private carparks, Senior Sergeant Graham Reeves said today.

To do that, they desperately needed keys to the trapped vehicles.

Owners should bring their keys, reasonable proof of ownership and photo identification, such as a driver's licence, to the vehicle recovery team at the Armagh St entrance to Hagley Park.

Once vehicles had been retrieved from the cordoned area, they would be kept at a site and monitored full-time by police staff and licensed security guards, he said.

About 2125 vehicles had now been retrieved from the central city cordoned area.