A man accused of stealing a car overnight was caught by police the following day because he drove through a Tauranga checkpoint not wearing his seatbelt.

The man was arrested yesterday morning after he was stopped at a checkpoint being run by the police and Plunket on Welcome Bay Rd, aimed at checking that children were appropriately restrained in cars.

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The checkpoint is being held over three days in Tauranga to help educate parents and carers of children about the importance of young people wearing seatbelts or being properly restrained in carseats.


Sergeant Wayne Hunter said the man was stopped because he was spotted not wearing a seatbelt. After he was stopped, a check on the vehicle he was driving revealed it had been reported stolen the night before.

Police also allegedly found methamphetamine in the man's possession.

The man was expected to appear in the District Court in Tauranga on Friday charged with unlawfully taking a vehicle, receiving stolen goods and possession of methamphetamine.

The man was not the only driver to flout the law while travelling through the heavy police presence at the checkpoint.

Mr Hunter said he had already seen three drivers texting while driving through the checkpoint this morning.

"We are standing here in uniform and high vis and they are still doing it. It's not a covert operation. We aren't trying to catch people. We are trying to educate them. They are obviously not paying attention. It just goes to show that if the car in front of them stopped, they would be rear-ended."

Mr Hunter said so far most children had been wearing seatbelts or restrained in carseats but there had been many whose seats were not properly installed .