Coastguard Rotorua president Barry Grouby said he had to beg and borrow important emergency equipment while searching for a man missing on Lake Rotoiti after his gear was stolen.

Mr Grouby helped in the search yesterday, but his efforts were restricted after someone stole about $1500 worth of emergency equipment from his vehicle while it was parked in the carpark between Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Rotokakahi (Green Lake) about 7am on Tuesday.

"We were doing a walk around the lake for some fitness and when we came back we found someone had broken into the vehicle.

"They stole all my Coastguard gear like jackets, life jackets, search equipment. It was very annoying and disappointing.

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"All of that stuff is very important for my job, I had no gear available so had to beg and borrow."

Mr Grouby asked anyone who knew anything about the theft to contact the Rotorua police on (07) 349 9400.