A police roadblock on Fryatt St yesterday. Photo by Linda
The contents of a container full of suspicious items -
including dozens of suspected mortars, .50 calibre rounds and
grenades - were inspected by the New Zealand Defence Force bomb
squad yesterday after being discovered at a Dunedin container
Customs officers alerted police to the find after spotting
the weapons, which appeared to be armed, and ammunition
during a routine X-ray of the container.
The items were stored in boxes inside the container, which
had come from China.
An area around the Fryatt St container yard where the
container was being examined was cordoned off for about 30
minutes around noon until officers confirmed the cargo of
munitions had been disarmed.
Sergeant Chris McLellan, of Dunedin, said the bomb squad was
dispatched from Christchurch as a precaution to ensure no
live explosives were inside the container.
The squad arrived to examine the container's contents about
An initial police assessment had found the grenades and
mortars, while appearing to be authentic weapons, were most
likely imitations, while the .50 calibre rounds were real but
the working components of the bullets had been removed and
the caps replaced.
Other suspicious items, including an "unusual" collection of
knives, were found in the container.
Police, Customs New Zealand and Port Otago were tracing the
container's movements, including the ultimate destination and
use of the goods.
Police were assuming the items were for personal use.
It was unclear yesterday whether the correct paperwork for
the items had been filled out.
A New Zealand Customs Service spokesman referred queries to
Customs' main concern yesterday was public safety at the
scene, he said.