1492813595275 - Twelve-year-old Northland boy drove 115 kilometres in a stolen vehicle

Twelve-year-old Northland boy drove 115 kilometres in a stolen vehicle

A Northland tween made the most of his school holidays, driving a stolen car 115km from Whangarei to Puhoi with police in pursuit.

Whangarei police were alerted to a 12-year-old driving a stolen car down State Highway 1 around 2am on Thursday, a police spokeswoman said. 

The boy had taken the car from his caregivers shortly after midnight, before hitting the road from Whangarei. 

Police followed the car driving south for some time, at a distance, so the child driver was not scared.

Though he wasn’t driving at speed, the boy struggled to stay in the right lane.

Police tailed the car but didn’t try to stop it, due to concerns about the driver’s inexperience and the risk pulling him over could pose to other drivers. 

They signalled the 12-year-old to stop near Warkworth – but he kept going. 

North Shore police were deployed to Puhoi, where spikes were used to bring the car to a halt. The spikes deflated the tyres, forcing the vehicle to come to a stop on Waiwera Hill. 

The boy was taken into custody, and has been referred to Youth Aid and Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children.

Inspector Kai Shao said the 12-year-old’s trip had the potential to “end very differently.”

There were a wide range of factors to take into account, Shao said, not only with the driver and the incident as it unfolded, but also the difficulties officers face working across two different districts, as Northland and Auckland police districts were both involved.