Hamilton police and firefighters are astounded by greedy metal thieves who've been stealing from fire safety systems.

Firefighters called out to central Hamilton shopping complex on Sunday found metal fittings from the firefighting equipment had been removed.

Checks since then have found another 25 similar thefts from fitting from fire boxes across the city, including some from Waikato Hospital.

Other thefts have been reported in Tauranga and Auckland.

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Police Inspector Karen Henrikson said they were reports the thieves may be operating in broad daylight, disguised as workmen - possibly wearing overalls and hi-vis vests.

She said the thieves were putting the lives of the public and firefighters at risk.