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Thieves have stolen hot water cylinders from at least seven whitebaiters' huts on a Southland river, say police.

They are investigating the burglaries of the huts at the Mataura rivermouth near Fortrose.

All the huts were broken into over the past week and a four-wheel drive vehicle was most likely used to get to the area from the Gorge Road Highway, Waituna Lagoon entrance, said Constable Craig Colyer, of Invercargill police.

Anyone who may have seen suspicious people or vehicles loaded with hot water cylinders in the area was urged to contact police.