A 42-year-old Christchurch woman stole a police car before crashing after refusing a breath test.

Police were notified of an allegedly intoxicated person attempting to drive on Wainoni Rd, Avondale, in Christchurch around 7pm on Saturday.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said when police arrived the woman refused to be breathalysed and was placed in the back of a police car.

Price said as the police officer walked around to the driver's door, the woman climbed into the front seat and drove off.

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She collided with several parked cars before coming to a stop.

While there were no reported injuries, the police car sustained considerable damage and was towed from the scene.

The woman is due to appear in Christchurch District Court on August 14 charged with driving in a dangerous manner, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and escaping from police custody.