Armed teenagers dressed in Halloween horror masks - including a creepy clown - have robbed a service station in Christchurch.
The three youths - who were armed with a hammer and a hockey stick - stole cash and cigarettes from the Challenge service station on Opawa Rd, Christchurch, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
They entered the premises at 3.45am, and threatened the man behind the counter - one of the boys banging the hammer on the ground, and shouting at him to get down.
Two were wearing horror masks and one a clown mask, with their hoodies pulled up over their heads.
They backed the employee into a corner, while they robbed the till of cash and stole cigarettes and tobacco products.
CCTV footage shows the man with his hands in the air, as the boys frantically grab cash out of the register.
More than $5000 in tobacco products was stolen, and $300 in cash, it has been reported.
"The staff member concerned, he's okay," said Jean Fahey, manager of the service station.
"Obviously it's a little bit stressful, but he's okay and coping very well with it."
He had acted exactly as the company's policies and training outlined, she said, and was not injured in the incident.
"They had him backed into a corner, but they never touched him as such," Fahey said.
"He said he didn't feel intimidated at all, but all our staff have had training here and if anybody comes in and threatens you, you just give them what they want, and that's what he did. He did everything correctly.
"They [staff] have been told, and I keep reiterating to them, not to confront anybody - their safety is more important and loss of stock and things is replaceable."
The rest of the staff were "obviously a little on edge", she said, and the company was reassessing its security arrangements in light of the robbery.
Fahey said one of the boys had been wearing a clown mask, and the other two "spooky, horror masks".
However, she did not think it was part of the "creepy clown" phenomenon sweeping cities across the world.
"No, they weren't dressed like that," she said, "but they had those sorts of masks on, definitely.
"[It] definitely was a creepy clown mask, but they weren't dressed as clowns, and I don't believe they came in acting like that.
"They came in with threatening behaviour and weapons - a hammer and a hockey stick.
"One of the boys was banging the hammer on the floor when he was telling my staff member to get down."
Three teenagers have since been arrested in relation to the incident, police said, and were charged with aggravated robbery. They are now before the Youth Court.
The stolen property was recovered.