A white stationwagon seen near a Dargaville property could hold the key to the theft of 11 automatic weapons - including submachine guns and assault rifles - stolen from the gun safe.

Dargaville Police are appealing for sightings of the white stationwagon that was seen near a house that was later discovered to have been burgled and a number of firearms stolen.

About 5.30pm on Tuesday, the occupants of a residential Dargaville property found they had been burgled.

As well as several electronic items, the 11 firearms were stolen from a gun safe, Senior Sergeant Rob Huys, response manager at Dargaville Police, said.

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It is the latest in a string of burglaries involving guns in Northland that have seen at least 20 firearms stolen in less than a month.

"Police are very concerned that these firearms are now likely to be in the hands of the criminal fraternity and the obvious risk that this poses," Mr Huys said.

Mr Huys said police immediately began making enquiries and the investigation continued throughout much of yesterday, involving CIB staff, frontline police officers and scene of crime officers, who carried out a forensic scene examination at the address.

He said the owner of the property is a gun collector and police believe the guns had been properly secured in the required manner.

The owner and his wife were quite distressed and Victim Support had been engaged, Mr Huys said.

He said a white stationwagon was seen in the area shortly before the burglary was discovered. Anybody who may have seen a similar vehicle driving in a suspicious manner before or after the burglary can ring police on (09) 430 4520 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 55 111.

In another burglary this week, Whangarei police were called to a Tikipunga house after an 89-year-old woman found a man clad in black in her bedroom. Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said it appeared the man had come through a back door at the house while the woman was in the lounge on Tuesday about 7pm.

Once he was spotted he fled immediately but a search of the area by police failed to find him.

Meanwhile, potential burglars are door-knocking in Whangarei suburbs asking for John or Charlie, then purporting to be a contractor offering to mow lawns or cut trees.

Relieving district deployment manager Inspector Al Symonds said police had reports of it happening about six times in the Kamo and Tikipunga areas over the last couple of weeks.

"This gives them the opportunity to see if anyone is home and see how alert the occupier is, as well as a quick look in the door to see what of value is visible," Mr Symonds said.

He said employees of legitimate companies would have identification and would normally have a branded vehicle.

"If the person seems suspicious then please call police and we will do our best to get there and check them out."