Police track vehicle linked to Waipori gunshots

Gunshots heard in Waipori Falls village early on Sunday are under investigation by Dunedin police, who have received new information about a vehicle linked to the incident.

Police were contacted at 2.47am on Sunday following dozens of .22-calibre rifle shots and a shotgun blast.

Two street lamps and a fence in Waipori Falls Rd were damaged and 45 bullet casings collected.

Police did not respond to the initial call, because no officers were working in Mosgiel at the time and no Dunedin staff were available.

The incident was not considered urgent, because information at the time suggested the perpetrators had left the scene.

Police yesterday defended their lack of immediate response to the incident, which was criticised by Waipori resident Richard Mathias, who rang 111 to report the shots.

Dunedin area response manager Senior Sergeant Darryl Lennane said the ''response'' by police to the call was appropriate.

All available information at the time indicated those responsible had left the area and there was no immediate threat to public safety, he said.

''Police staff believed that the immediate threat appeared to have dissipated and, given the lack of additional information at the time that would assist in locating the alleged offenders, the caller was advised to make contact with police again if the situation changed.''

Snr Sgt Lennane said officers had since ''followed up'' the incident and had a ''positive line of inquiry'' relating to a vehicle thought to have been used.

He said the reality of police work was resources regularly needed to be prioritised and judgement calls made about where police action was best directed.

''I'm satisfied that our staff handled the situation appropriately, given the circumstances at the time, but appreciate the concern it would have caused for residents and visitors to Waipori.''

Snr Sgt Lennane said Mr Mathias did the right thing by calling police, and anyone concerned about their safety or that of others was encouraged to dial 111.

Mr Mathias contacted the Otago Daily Times on Sunday because he was concerned police had not responded to his call, particularly in the wake of the recent St Leonards shootings.

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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