Police blitz roads

Derek Shaw.
Derek Shaw.
A motorist driving past a stationary school bus 84kmh over the speed limit is among the offenders Wanaka police have netted in an ongoing pre-winter traffic safety blitz.

Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said police had been running a campaign throughout the Upper Clutha for two weeks, focusing on motorists' "safety and common sense" in terms of frost-impaired vehicles, speed, restraints and other factors.

"If you can get things safe with the vehicles before the actual winter bites fully, then hopefully it will make things safer for the June, July, August period, the ugly months," Det Sgt Shaw said.

On Thursday, police clocked a 24-year-old Christchurch man travelling at 104kmh instead of the required 20kmh past a stopped school bus on Cardrona Valley Rd.

"He claimed to have never even seen the bus, which is a little bit more concerning."

The man was charged with dangerous driving and will appear in the Queenstown District Court on June 5.

A 27-year-old Ashburton man was caught with an excess breath-alcohol limit for the second time in two weeks after being spotted by police in the early hours of Sunday driving along the shingle on Wanaka's lakefront. He was stopped by police when he drove back on to Ardmore St and recorded a breath-alcohol reading of 737mcg. His licence was suspended and he will appear in the Queenstown District Court on June 18.

Det Sgt Shaw said a disqualified driver had also been apprehended, and there had been a "reasonably high detection rate" of offences such as expired warrants of fitness, speed-limit breaches, use of cellphones and no seat belts.

The traffic safety operation will continue until after Queen's Birthday weekend.

Wanaka police had also dealt with an unusually high number of reports of "petty thefts" recently.

Nine reports had been received in the past week, including theft of clothing from washing lines, items from a bar and a camera from the Dinosaur Park.

Most of the thefts had occurred over a period of seven days.


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