Five boys, one just 12, who led police on a dramatic early morning chase across Auckland were captured after they tried to escape in a muddy harbour mangrove swamp.

Police dodged wine bottles hurled at them from the fleeing car in a pursuit that involved a major land, sea and air operation.

Police have revealed the chased car, reported stolen from New Lynn in west Auckland, held four teenagers aged 15 and under and a 12-year-old.

Police say the chase started on Auckland's North Shore at 2.15am after they were called to break in at a Takapuna liquor store in Hurstmere Road.


The teenagers were seen leaving the scene in a car and an attempt was made by patrolling police to stop it.

But the driver allegedly failed to stop and was pursued across the Auckland Harbour Bridge through Ponsonby and into Point Chevalier.

Police said at times the boys threw wine bottles at the chasing police cars.

Road spikes were laid on Carrington Road, puncturing the car's tyres.

Even so the young driver kept going, fleeing from police travelling towards Waitakere on the wrong side of the North-Western motorway from the Pt Chevalier interchange.

But when the car was unable to travel any further it was abandoned and the teens legged it to escape in nearby harbour mangroves.

Police chased the boys on foot, guided from the air by the Police helicopter and from the sea by inflatable dinghy.

After 45 minutes in the mud the boys were found and brought ashore.

Police said one teenager would appear in the Youth Court today after breaching bail conditions.

The four other boys would be referred to Youth Aid.