'Knicker thief' caught on camera

An underwear thief has been captured on camera, repeatedly stealing items off a woman's clothesline in Melbourne's north-east.

Panty snatcher caught on camera

Panty snatcher caught on camera

The woman, who can only be identified as Emma, set up an infra-red camera in her backyard at Northcote after losing 30 pairs of knickers in a couple of months.

"One Saturday I put a whole lot of washing on the line and then went to get it the next day and gone. Just the knickers, that was it and then there was the realisation...it was a horrible feeling," she told Seven News.

On the first night police got their man after he was filmed moving under the clothes and selectively plucking the underwear.

"Literally that night, the following Friday when we set it up, he came back and we caught him," she said.

It is believed the thief has jumped Emma's fence eight times and stolen around 30 garments, but she is not the only victim.

Police say the underwear thief has ventured into the backyards of at least two other homes in the area between St Georges Rd and the Merri Creek, Northcote, since he first struck in early October.

"I feel violated," Emma said. "It's taken away the joy of this house to some extent. To know that he's been in our back garden for probably a couple of months, it's not something that any woman should have to put up with."

Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.