A police detective has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars of cash seized from suspected criminals and a former colleague.

Mark Ernest Langford has since left the police and faces four charges of theft totalling nearly $8500.

The former Auckland drug squad detective is to appear in the Manukau District Court for a pre-trial hearing in May.

Court documents show Langford is accused of stealing money from four people on different occasions over a period spanning more than two years.

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He is charged with stealing $4738 from an Auckland woman between July and August 2008, and $3062 from a man between March and May 2010.

He allegedly took a wallet and cash valued at $270 belonging to a fourth person in the week before Christmas in 2009.

The final charge alleges the theft of $422.50 from a senior police officer in February last year.

The Weekend Herald understands the money was allegedly taken from a police safe after the cash was seized from suspected criminals.

A spokesman for police national headquarters said Langford resigned in November last year, but declined to make further comment as the matter was before the courts.

Langford said he would plead not guilty to the charges but declined to elaborate.

"I've got nothing to say."

Defence lawyer Richard Earwaker said his client denied the allegations and a trial date was set for 2013, which was a lengthy wait before the charges could be defended in court.

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Police have warned of the temptations faced by officers fighting organised crime because of the wealth associated with it, which has led to corruption scandals in overseas law enforcement agencies.