27 May 2009

Canterbury police recapture wanted man

10:34 pm on 27 May 2009

The man who eluded Canterbury police for more than three months has finally been caught and remanded in custody.

William Stewart, 47, appeared in Christchurch District Court on Wednesday after police arrested him on a prison recall warrant.

He stood in the dock sporting long scruffy hair and a full beard after more than 100 days on the run.

Mr Stewart's success in evading police for so long have gained folklore status with a song, T-shirts and a Facebook page dedicated to him.

A crowd watched as Judge Brian Callaghan remanded Stewart in custody for another court appearance on 10 June.

He faces six charges including possession of cannabis and breaching parole. Police say more charges are likely to follow.

The arrest came after a farmer disturbed an intruder attempting to steal a quad bike about 1am on Wednesday near Mayfield.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff told Morning Report there is relief among officers and local people.

Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury branch president Michael Morrow told Morning Report the farming community is glad they will no longer be at risk.

He says it is about time Mr Stewart was behind bars and the arrest is "excellent news".

Officers say they found no firearms in the stolen four-wheel drive. The vehicle was towed to Ashburton police station for examination.