The country's most elite armed police were told they had to find Kim Dotcom before he destroyed evidence, but were banned from searching building plans to learn about the interior of the tycoon's mansion, a court has heard.

The High Court at Auckland heard yesterday it took the special tactics group (STG) more than 13 minutes to find Dotcom - and then only after his bodyguard showed them the location of the tycoon's "safe room".