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Police hunt for man who stole 11 firearms from Palmerston North police station on Anzac Day

Police are hunting a 38-year-old man in Palmerston North after he stole a number of firearms from the city’s police station on Anzac Day.

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Acting Central District Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart says finding the suspect is "our absolute priority". Source: 1 NEWS

Police warn that Alan James Harris, a European man with short cropped hair, a dark beard and a slender build, should not be approached.

He was disturbed by a member of police staff in the yard area of the Palmerston North police station around 7.40am yesterday.

Mr Harris left the scene in a vehicle, with police since recovering that vehicle and another linked to the offender.

Police and Armed Offenders Squad staff have executed a number of search warrants at Palmerston North addresses over the last 24 hours as part of the ongoing investigation.

Mr Harris is still believed to be in the Central District area, and police are urging anyone who knows his whereabouts to contact police immediately.

Acting Central District Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart says the burglary is being taken very seriously.

"Locating Harris is a high priority for Central District Police. I urge anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward to Police.

"A warrant for his arrest has been issued. He should not be approached," she said.

"Eleven firearms which were in an exhibit storage area are currently unaccounted for. I should be clear that these were not police firearms, but were a range of weapons being held as exhibits or handed in for destruction," Ms Stewart said.

Police have told a news conference one of the weapons could be a semi-automatic. They also said the man they're seeking is known to police.

Commissioner Mike Bush is conducting an investigation into how the offender was able to gain access to the police station, as well as an immediate audit on security around firearms at all stations nationwide.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Palmerston North Police immediately on (06) 351 3600 or 0800 351 3600, which is a newly established number for the case.