The two men casually stroll into the dairy.

One wears a light-grey Starter-branded hooded top and black pants; the other has a dark hooded top, black pants, and a black-and-red backpack.

They could be just a couple of customers.

But they're not. One has a hammer. They're there to rob the place.

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They force the shopkeeper backwards behind the counter while they take cash from the till and cigarettes.

The assistant puts his hands up slightly as if to protect himself but can only stand there and watch the robbery unfold.

The one wearing the light-grey top bends over while grabbing some of the stash and is wearing what appears to be purple underwear.

The robber with the dark top walks out of the shop as casually as he came in. His accomplice is a few seconds behind him and runs.

Once they're outside they both take off.

This attack, at Greerton's Carlisle St Convenience Store on Sunday at 2pm, was captured on security camera and police have now released the footage in the hope someone can identify the pair.

Release of the footage comes as shopkeepers - including the woman who owns Carlisle - speak out after a series of robberies across the city since early April.

A couple of owners want weapons to defend themselves. But others and police disagree this is a safe thing to do.

A retail friend of Carlisle store owner Aman Deep earlier said they believed the law was too soft and shopkeepers needed weapons behind their counters and more power to protect themselves.

Cameron Rd Cafe 359 owner Tony Bagley agreed.

"As a cash business, there is always the potential risk of becoming a target."

Mr Bagley said it was a huge concern for every small retailer but he was prepared to stand up for himself.

"If the offender is armed with a firearm it might be different but otherwise I would not give in easily to their demands," he said.

Choice Food and Spices store manager Michael Sami said robberies heightened concerns among small retailers, but agreed retailers arming themselves was not the answer.

"My boss has made it clear that we should not make money a big issue. It's better to give the robbers what they want than lose your life," he said.

Another Cameron Rd food store owner, who did not wish to be named, agreed.

"I think we need more CCTV cameras along this stretch of Cameron Rd and better security lighting to help deter people from committing these crimes," she said.

Bay of Plenty district commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said police discouraged people arming themselves.

Police instead advised businesses take steps to make themselves less of a target and could offer advice.

Police have made arrests in relation to three of the six robberies.

• Anyone with information should contact Detective Constable Tim Bonner at Tauranga police (07) 577 4300 or information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Tackling the issue:

Shopkeepers arming themselves and wanting harsher penalties is a ''short-term fix".

This is the view of Tauranga Labour Party candidate Jan Tinetti.

"I really feel for shopkeepers who work extremely hard to make a living. It must be heart-breaking and so scary for them. But we need to tackle the root causes of why this is happening, and it needs a whole-community response to turn this trend around.

"I would hate to see a blanket sentence for this type of crime, particularly for first-time young offenders as each offender and the circumstances of their crime will be different."

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said the robberies were concerning and the Government was spending $500,000 to increase police staffing numbers.

This will include 69 more police staff, including 10 per cent more in this police district, with the first officers graduating later this year, he said.

''I can absolutely understand why retailers would say they should be allowed to arm themselves with weapons, but it's a really bad idea as it could lead to further violence."

"It could make a dangerous situation far worse, with not just the perpetrator but the victim being injured," Mr Bridges said.

Tommy Wilson, from Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services, said locking people up, particularly youth offenders was not the answer, because the offender was likely to come out of prison far worse than when they went in.

"A lot of these young offenders are fuelled on synthetic cannabis or some other drug. Many of them are not connected to their whanau, school, sports or church group, and often lack good role models in their lives," he said.

Mr Wilson said the community needed to help offenders reconnect with their whanau and other support networks to turn their lives around.

Six recent raids on local stores

• April 6: Tauranga Liquorland, Cameron Rd - Two men with wooden sticks, a staff member was assaulted
• April 26: Lucky 7 Superette - Three offenders rob store, one armed with pistol
• April 28: Thirsty Liquor store, Chapel St - ram raid with alcohol, cigarettes and till stolen
• May 2: United Video Fraser St - Female shop assistant robbed by man with machete
• May 3: Quality Food and Spices - Attempted armed robbery with hammer
• May 6: Carlisle St Convenience Store - Two men rob store, one armed with a hammer