23 Jan 2010

Police recapture near naked prisoner

6:28 pm on 23 January 2010

Police have been hunting a prisoner who escaped - near naked and handcuffed - from officers' custody in Whakatane on Friday.

They say Werimu Rangi Hauraki escaped by diving head first from a balcony over a steep cliff.

The 34-year-old had only weed-matting around him when he escaped.

Officers using police dogs and helicopters spent most of Friday looking for him. They managed to corner him on at least two occasions, but he evaded them.

He was captured in a river near Opotiki on Saturday morning and was in a canoe when he was caught, police say.

The acting area commander for Eastern Bay of Plenty, Senior Sergeant Tony Jeurissen, says information from members of the public helped them apprehend the man.

Mr Hauraki is accused of failing to appear on a charge of aggravated burglary.