Monday, 6 May 2024 - 8:03am

Slowly does it...

1 min read

News article photos (1 items)

The Kubota ATV heading off into the early morning.

A great team effort and local knowledge of back roads has led to the arrest of a disqualified driver fleeing on a stolen all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on New Zealand’s most iconic beach.

The 'pursuit' - at up to 30kmh - ended up on 90 Mile Beach, where it turned into a foot chase.

The drama began about 1.45am last Friday (26 April) when a neighbour in Kaitaia heard a farm ATV being started and driven off.

Sergeant Paul Jury responded, along with four members of PST2, and they found the stolen ATV southbound – toward the beach - on Sandhills Road.

“We tried to stop him getting to the beach where we figured he would be heading," says Paul. "But when we couldn’t do that, we changed plans."

The ATV was indeed driven on to 90 Mile Beach, with Police following.

“We abandoned an I-car at the start of the beach and teamed up in a four-wheel-drive that I was driving. I was guided around the reef by two of the team in the back and managed to get in front of him.”

The team blocked the ATV near a rocky outcrop on the beach known to the locals as Iron Gate, where only one vehicle can pass at a time, and the 17km pursuit came to an end.

The driver tried to reverse away with one constable chasing on foot and was apprehended by two others when the vehicle stalled.

The victim was reunited with his farm vehicle and was stoked.

“A vehicle like that is his livelihood and without it his job would have been a nightmare,” Paul says.

“It was a great team effort, local knowledge was key, knowing the back roads, beach access and where our vehicles could and couldn’t go.”

A Far North man was arrested and faces charges of burglary, unlawfully takes a motor vehicle, failing to stop, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.