A shipping container that arrived in Dunedin from China was last week found to be full of weapons and ammunition.
Customs officers alerted police after finding the weapons and ammunition during a routine x-ray of the container , the Otago Daily Times reported.
Among the haul stored in boxes in the container were .50 calibre heavy machine gun rounds and grenades, as well as mortar bombs.
The bomb squad was sent from Christchurch as a precaution to ensure there were no live explosives inside, Sergeant Chris McLellan of Dunedin police said.
An initial assessment found that the grenades and mortar bombs, while appearing to be authentic, were most likely imitations.
The .50 calibre heavy machine gun rounds were real, but the working components of the bullets had been removed and the caps had been replaced. There were also few other suspicious items stored inside the container, including an “unusual” collection of knives, a police spokesman said.
Police, together with Customs and Port Otago were working on tracing the container’s movements, including the destination and use of the goods. It was not clear yesterday whether the correct paperwork for the weapons and ammunition had been submitted.