Police bugs put up for sale

[video, including of arrest, on site]

A Cromwell man who found police surveillance gear in two cars they returned to him has been arrested for theft of property.

Ralph Williams had put the devices up for auction on Trade Me but police had the ad taken off the the internet website.

Williams was being a little cheeky when he found the bugs in two cars given back to him by police and put them up for sale on the web. Police pulled the ad, apparently telling Trade Me that the seller did not own the devices.

ONE News reporter Tsehai Tiffin was there when the police team swooped and they confirmed he was under arrest for the theft of "some property of the New Zealand Police".

Williams told ONE News that the items had to be the listening devices.

Police took away at least one of the cars that had been fitted with tracking devices. The car had been returned to him bugged he says by police investigating the arson of a vehicle of their own.

Someone torched a brand new police mufti car right in front of the Cromwell police station - a two month old Holden Commodore.

"I did nothing wrong," Williams says. "The police car burning had nothing whatsoever to do with me...there's no evidence to suggest it did."

He says he put the ad on Trade Me to bring attention to what police were doing and because he says they didn't immediately own up to the tracking devices.

He says they initially replied no to an email he sent asking if they had left anything behind and then later changed that to a maybe.

Williams had found a sim card in one of the devices that gave him the number of the local police.

Police would not comment because it is an operational matter but in a statement they say the equipment was used according to a court order.

Source: ONE News