A daytime fuel thief has been caught red handed by a vigilant Taieri cow-cocky.

Acting Inspector Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said the farmer's suspicions were aroused when he saw an unfamiliar utility vehicle and a young man on his Momona property in the early afternoon on Friday.

"He went down and confronted him and found the ute down by his fuel tanks, the bowser had been tampered with and a tool box was beside it as well.''

A 26-year-old alleged offender has been arrested for burglary and issued court bail, Dinnissen said.

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Meanwhile, police continue to receive reports from tradies relieved of their tools.

Insp Dinnissen said an offender smashed the window of a locked vehicle in Willis St on Sunday night and took a range of building and plumbing tools.

Dunedin police (03) 471-4800, Crimestoppers 0800-555-111.