Armed man steals police car, still on the run

jesse nash
He stole, then ditched, a police car. Photo credit: Supplied

Armed police are helping in the search for a man who fled after a police chase in the lower South Island.

The man - believed to be 38-year-old Jesse Nash - initially failed to stop near Cromwell around 6:30pm on Saturday, and when he eventually did, pointed a gun at police before fleeing the scene in a police car along State Highway 8.

He later ditched the stolen car, and hijacked another vehicle from a member of the public.

He was last seen driving south along State Highway 90.

Police say the public should be alert but not alarmed, and report any suspicious activity.

"We would urge the public to be alert, but not alarmed, and to report any suspicious activity in the area to police on 111," said Supt Darryl Sweeney.

Nash has links to Waimate and Timaru, and police say he should not be approached.