A new police operation has been launched in Manawatu in response to a recent spate of aggravated robberies in the region.

Police have launched Operation Star which will investigate the recent robberies and ensure business owners and people across the community are best prepared to protect themselves from crime.

Detective Jaz Woollett said the primary target for these robberies has been local dairies, service stations and family owned businesses.

"These offenders are targeting innocent, hard-working people who provide an essential service to us from early in the morning to late in the evenings, seven days a week. We need to be there for them," he said.

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"Aggravated robberies are vicious crimes, the trauma they cause should not be underestimated.

"Our team is determined to identify the offenders behind these hideous crimes and hold them to account.

"As well as this, prevention teams will be working closely with dairy and service station owners and their employees to share prevention advice and teach them what to do if they are targeted."

Woollett said one of the best crime prevention tools is community.

"We know who is a neighbour and who is a regular visitor to our local community – so we encourage people to use that knowledge.

"If you recognise people unfamiliar to your area hanging around your local dairy or service station, or if you see someone acting suspiciously, we need you to let us know," he said.

"We need your help to identify these offenders so Operation Star can help keep our communities safe."

If you have information about the recent aggravated robberies in Manawatu call police on 06 351 2600 or Crimestoppers anonymous on 0800 555 111.

If you witness a crime occurring, make sure you're safe and call 111 immediately.