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Not a good way to go fishing

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - A mourner who authorities say got drunk, took a hearse from outside a New Zealand funeral venue and outran pursuing funeral directors told police he was "going fishing" when they pulled him over.


Police said the 46-year-old sickness beneficiary, who brought a carton of beer for the trip, told them he was heading to the coast to "check out the sea conditions."


The man had been attending a funeral near the tourist town of Rotorua on central North Island when he allegedly stole the blue Ford Forte hearse.


There was no dead body on board at the time.


Snr. Sgt. Ian Campion said funeral directors chased their $15,200 hearse as it was driven off, but eventually lost track of it and called police.


The man had the carton of beer with him in the front of the hearse when he was stopped by police.


"He said he was wanting to go for a ride to (the coastal town of) Maketu to check out the sea conditions before going fishing," Campion was reported telling the "New Zealand Herald" newspaper.


The man allegedly had been drinking all day at the funeral and was described by Snr. Sgt. Deirdre Lack as "intoxicated" when arrested.


He has been charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

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