Police are warning Tauranga residents of an underwear thief lurking around the suburbs at night.

Police believe the thefts could be related to a man who was disturbed at a property on Solomon St Brookfield during the early hours of Sunday.

The man has been described as Maori or Polynesian, aged about 20, with short black hair.

Police said their inquiries uncovered thefts of women's underwear from clothes lines in the area in recent months.

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Police have appealed to people to report sightings of males fitting the above description or acting suspciously in the area.

Any information can be given confidentially to Detective Shaun Skedgwell at Tauranga police on: (07) 231 0432 or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.