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Evacuation after potential explosive found in Auckland

Published: 11:02AM Thursday January 10, 2013 Source: ONE News

An area of central Auckland was evacuated this morning after packages of a potentially dangerous chemical were discovered.

The powder has been identified as ammonia nitrate, a compound used as fertiliser, which can also be used to create explosives. A licence is required to import it into New Zealand.

Senior Sergeant Steven Samuels said police were called after two packages with 'explosive' written on the side were found in a park in Eden Terrace.

"A member of the public was walking through Basque's park and noticed two packages which looked like sandbags but had writing on them that he wasn't sure of. He called the council, they came and had a look and called the police."

The packages were deemed to be suspicious and the fire brigade was called.

A 100 metre area in Eden Terrace was evacuated, around the area of Diamond Street and Norwich Street, where the packages were found. The area is a residential and commercial area next to the Basque Road Reserve.

"The fire brigade initially ascertained it to be a type of powder used in explosive making," Samuels said.

"On further examination they have determined it is ammonia nitrate. On it's own it is not that dangerous but with additives, like diesel or fuel it can be dangerous."

Police put up cordons and the hazardous materials unit was at the scene. Investigations into where the packages came from are under way.

"It is an offence to dump this kind of material and the police are going to work with the council to locate the people who dumped this," Samuels said.