A bunch of tourists are baffled after a man - who was caught on camera in doing so - stole their trailer packed with luggage.

Tour guide Eric Wu had parked the hired trailer on Brake Street in Christchurch about 6.30pm last night before escorting his 16 tourists for dinner at a Chinese restaurant just metres away.

Within the hour, the group returned to discover their trailer had gone.

"I thought it had been towed away," Wu said.

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Wu spotted a CCTV camera across the road, which showed a man driving a silver ute pulling over beside the van and quickly attaching the trailer to his vehicle before speeding off.

Wu immediately sent out an alert on Facebook and the trailer was found about 10 minutes away on Carruthers Rd.

He said 10 out of the 19 pieces of luggage had been retrieved.

"Unfortunately, the rest was taken but we are hoping police will be able to locate it soon."

A police spokeswoman said inquiries were under way.

The Chinese tourists had only been in the country for 11 days and were devastated at the turn of events.

"One guy has lost more than $2000 worth of gear and many lost cameras and lenses, so we hope we get it back."

Despite the holiday downer, the group will continue their trip - they are leaving Christchurch this afternoon to head south.