A police officer was hospitalised this afternoon after a smoke canister was let off in the middle of a busy South Auckland intersection.

Police responded to a complaint about a large number of window washers at the intersection of Cavendish Drive and Te Irirangi Drive, Manukau, about 3pm today.

A smoke canister was thrown on to the road as police arrived and one officer was taken to Middlemore Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The officer is in a stable condition, police said in a statement.

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Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is urged to contact Police on (09) 261 1321.