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Police received a traffic complaint about rubbish being thrown from the window of a car travelling on State Highway 1 on Sunday about 1pm.
Sergeant Alex Pickover said a search of the registration number revealed the car had previously been reported stolen.
It had been stolen from Christchurch, either late Saturday or early Sunday.
Police located the vehicle on Kidman St, Rolleston, and followed it as it pulled into McDonald’s.
By this time, there were three police cars at the scene.
They were able to box the car in, with two behind and one in front, preventing the car from leaving the McDonald’s car park.
Sergeant Pickover said the three occupants, two of which were aged in their late teens and the other in their mid-20s, from Christchurch, were arrested.
The driver was charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, breach of bail, and driving while disqualified.
The two passengers were each charged with unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.