Two would-be burglars of a Christchurch pub apologised to a cleaner and fled the building empty-handed in the early hours of this morning.

The two men were trying to rob the Redwood Hotel on Main North Rd at about 3.30am when the cleaner came across them.

A police spokeswoman said the burglars were unable to get into the tills and pokies, and the cleaner would not have had access to them anyway.

"They apologised and said they had families to feed," she said.

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After apologising, they fled the scene.

Police are investigating.

The offenders are described as being aged in their 20s. One was wearing a dark grey hoodie and long, black pants.

The second wore a bandana over his face. The bandana was blue and black in colour with some white. He was wearing a black or grey hoodie with a grey and white design on the back, and long, black pants.

They both had slim builds and were wearing black sand shoes.