A spate of charity box thefts in the Bay recently have been labelled by police as "reprehensible."

Police are warning those who hold counter charity boxes to be extra vigilant after 17 reported thefts of charity boxes from businesses, shops and offices around the region since December.

The stolen boxes were taking donations for various charities, ranging from the Cancer Society and the Salvation Army to the SPCA.

It is not known how much money has been taken in total.

Sergeant Marie Marshall said businesses and shops should be on the lookout for anyone hanging around or acting suspiciously near counters or areas where charity boxes are placed.

"These appear to have become a major target for the thief or thieves concerned and we are urging anyone who has a charity box to make sure it is placed in such a way it would be difficult to steal.," she said.


"Likewise, we would ask all local charities to empty their boxes regularly so large amounts of money do not build up and become attractive to thieves."

"It's pretty low to steal from a charity and we know there is a lot of community outrage and disgust about these thefts."

"Hopefully someone will be able to help us find who is responsible," Ms Marshall said.

Police want to speak to the man pictured in relation to the theft of a charity box from Mobil Havelock North service station in December..

If you have any information about the man or the thefts please contact police on 06 8730500 or anonymously on 0800 555 111.