Police have sounded the alarm about buying potentially stolen tools on Facebook after $30,000 worth of builder's gear was burgled from a Dunedin container.

Acting Inspector Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said the trade in stolen tools was fueled by the South's growing methamphetamine problem, as reports of plundered sheds and containers continue to roll in to police.

Among them was a container on a building site in McMaster Rd, Saddle HIll, where a builder found the padlock on the container had been cut, and more than $30,000 worth of tools burgled, Insp Dinnissen said.

Near central Dunedin, a shed in a Fernhill St property was entered overnight on Sunday, and tools, a bathroom vanity set, and children's equipment including a pram were burgled.


The items had a total value in excess of $10,000.

Police also received reports of unsuccessful attempts to enter an old barn in Ocean Grove, while someone tried to saw through a padlock on a shed in Pine Hill.

Dinnissen said the stolen tools would likely end up on social media, especially Facebook Marketplace.

He warned that if premium gear was going cheap, it was probably pinched.

"If it's too good to be true, it probably is.

"They're selling DeWalt and Makita tools for $50 to $100, when some of those tools are worth $300 alone''

Police believed the driver behind many such burglaries were people who had racked up big debts buying drugs, especially methamphetamine, and people were also swapping tools for drugs directly, Dinnissen said.

"You've got to have big-ticket items to pay off some of those debts.''

When police executed drug warrants they often found tools such as drop saws in the properties, he said.

Insp Dinnissen said the burglaries were symptomatic of the rise of methamphetamine across Otago and Southland.

"We know it's throughout the South.

"We're going to more and more family harm incidents and assaults ... where meth is evident.''