A man will appear in court this afternoon after allegedly pinching Christmas presents from underneath an Auckland family's tree.

Police launched "Operation Bad Santa" after the theft was reported and arrested the alleged offender today.

They said the family's wrapped presents were stolen from underneath their Christmas tree at their home on the North Shore, along with an extensive number of other items.

Some of the items then appeared for sale on an online marketplace and police were swiftly able to track the person allegedly responsible down.

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Police searched three properties in Counties Manukau on Friday morning and successfully recovered some of the stolen property and returned it to the family.

The family were pleased to get some of the items back - including a blue bike that was a present for the children.

A 23-year-old man was due appeared in the North Shore District Court this afternoon on burglary charges.