Two thieves who tried to blow up an ATM machine at a Hamilton shopping mall were armed with seven pipe bombs and were caught on camera, police say.

CCTV footage showed two suspects placing the bombs at the site, Hamilton City area commander Inspector Andrea McBeth told reporters this afternoon.

Police and a bomb disposal group were called in and roads around the Westfield Chartwell Shopping Centre were closed for several hours earlier today after police found several home-made explosive devices.

McBeth said a member of the public had reported what appeared to be pipe bombs.

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Around 6.34am police were alerted, arriving minutes later and establishing a cordon, she said.

One of the pipe bombs had detonated, one had partly gone off and five others were recovered intact. The "unsophisticated" pipe bombs were small, about 13cm in length.

"This is nothing more than an attack on an ATM machine," McBeth said.

"We are confident there is no further risks to members of the public and this appears to be an isolated incident."

Two suspects had approached the ATM about 2.30am. After one pipe bomb detonated they had left when no cash was forthcoming, McBeth said.

McBeth said the thieves had demonstrated "incredibly dangerous behaviour".

Playing with explosives posed a risk to the individuals involved and to the public.

Police were not going to release a description of the two offenders at this stage, McBeth said.

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"We are in the very early stages of our investigation."

'Targeted attempt' at ATM

"This appears to be a targeted attempt at damaging an ATM, located on the exterior wall of the shopping centre at its southern end," police said in a statement earlier today.

Photos of the partly damaged ATM show the bottom part of the machine blown apart and debris littering the ground below.

The rest of the money machine - including the screen, keypad and the green sleeve - remained intact.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said she was "shocked and disappointed" by what happened.

"Hamilton considers itself a relatively safe city so we're always disappointed when brazen acts like this occur.

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"I'm glad no one was hurt."

She said council was working collaboratively with police to ensure they had the best approach to, and partnership in, crime prevention.

The noise from the explosion woke and startled several residents of Comries Rd which is opposite the mall.

Yolanda Julius said she and her husband were woken by a deep, loud "boom" about 2.45am today.

The remains of the ANZ ATM machine which was the target of a bombing early this morning. Photo / Nishant Taurian
The remains of the ANZ ATM machine which was the target of a bombing early this morning. Photo / Nishant Taurian

She said the noise was more like a boom than a bang as it was quite a deep-sounding explosion.

Julius said she looked at her husband and said "what was that".

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"We got out of bed because we thought it was an accident and saw two guys running away in the car park."

Julius said the two people, who she believed were young men, appeared to be running away from the ANZ ATM and towards Hukanui Rd.

Members of the police Specialist Search Group examine the scene at the Westfield Chartwell Shopping Centre this morning. Photo / Belinda Feek
Members of the police Specialist Search Group examine the scene at the Westfield Chartwell Shopping Centre this morning. Photo / Belinda Feek

"It was really scary."

Fellow resident Kevin Dornauf described the noise as a "kaboomf".

"It went 'kaboomf' so I knew it was an explosion," he said.

He immediately checked his alarm clock which read 2.44am.

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He got up and went outside and didn't see anyone but did see a slight haze in the covered car park but thought it could have been the slightly misty morning weather.