A police officer is recovering at home after he was punched in the face by a man trying to flee police at about 1.30am on Sunday in Hamilton.

The officer was running after a man in a group of about five people who had earlier broken into and stolen property from four cars on Watts Cres in Hamilton East.

A patrol car spotted the car leaving the area and started a pursuit towards Enderley when the driver failed to pull over, a police spokesman said.

During the chase, the thieves started throwing the stolen objects including a spade at the car and eventually pulled over on Tennyson St in Enderley.

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The driver was caught but the other occupants fled.

An officer ran after one offender but as he caught up to the man he was hit and punched in the face, the spokesman said.

Additional police units arrived and officers had to use pepper spray to stop the man and he was taken to the police station. A police dog unit also arrived to help detain him.

The injured police officer suffered several injuries including swelling and bruising and was treated by a medical team before being sent home.

Two people are facing charges.