The co-owner of a Whangarei butchery says the meat products he sells is his livelihood.

So when he saw a group of hooded men with partially covered faces enter the store and brazenly start filling baskets with meat it angered him.

Harley Roulston, co-owner of Tikipunga Fresh Foods, was serving a customer about 5.30pm on Monday when he spotted a man walk into the store with his hoody pulled up so only his eyes were showing.

"I walked over and next thing there's another two of them there and another guy outside standing there opening the automatic door for them. I blocked them off and called out to my business partner out the back who came running. They had enough of that and ran out."

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The men didn't get away with anything but they were captured on security cameras.

Beware............ Tonight we had these 3 come to visit! And an extra waiting outside to open the door back up. This was a planned attack!! The police are very interested in talking to these males. I have no idea how people like this think this is OK and we do not tolerate this in our shop. We want their names!! More pictures in comments

Posted by Tikipunga Fresh Foods on Monday, 8 May 2017

Two dumped their basket before running out and Mr Roulston managed to snatch the basket off the other.

They ran down an alleyway by Te Whareora o Tikipunga - the GP clinic up the road from the butchery, Mr Roulston said.

"I was so angry. The whole thing was all over in 36 seconds. It was just automatic to run over to them - our product is our livelihood," he said.

Mr Roulston became co-owner of the Tikipunga Fresh Foods, formally known as Tikipunga Wholesale Meats, in July last year after it expanded to the building next door.

He said this was the first incident of its kind since he had been there.

Northland police confirmed they had been notified about the incident and said although the men did not run off with any meat, it could still be considered theft.

The butchery posted security footage of the men to Facebook in the hopes of identifying them. Anyone who recognises them can contact Whangarei police.