A 44-year-old Whangamata man has been arrested after he allegedly took a police patrol car on a joy ride in the Coromandel.

Police say the man has been charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and was due to appear in court later this week.

The car was allegedly taken about 11.30pm on Saturday during a routine traffic stop for speeding.

Police said a passenger got out of the vehicle and allegedly sped off in the officer's car.

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It was found several hours later in Opoutere, about 14km north of Whangamata.

Firearms inside the vehicle remained untouched.

Police said as the matter was now before the court they were unable to comment any further on the incident.