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Large numbers of police swarmed On Top Backpackers in Filleul St about 8am.
Officers were stationed at either end of the building and at the street corner to prevent any escape.
About 20 minutes passed before several officers, including a constable from the dog section and his police dog, entered the building and walked up the stairs, as curious bystanders looked on.
Shortly after, a heavy-set bald man was escorted out a rear entrance of the building and bundled into a waiting police car.
Police would not be drawn on the reasons for deploying about a dozen officers to effect the arrest, except to say the response was based on a risk assessment "with the safety of both the public and police staff in mind".
The man was arrested on a parole recall warrant, meaning he had either offended while on parole or breached one of his parole recall conditions.
The Otago Daily Times understands he had arrived at the backpackers the day before his arrest.