A police officer says it's a "bloody shame" two tourists will be leaving Northland with bad memories after they were the victims of a violent robbery.

Two men - aged 18 and 19 - are in custody after they allegedly robbed two French tourists who were sleeping in their car at a carpark on Totara St, Dargaville. The robbery occurred about 1am yesterday when the French couple, a 32-year-old woman and her 34-year-old partner, were woken by the two people knocking on the window of their Toyota, Dargaville police Detective Sergeant Jonathan Tier said.

The Frenchman opened the car door and the offenders allegedly wielded a hammer in a threatening manner, demanded money and punched the man, leaving him with a contusion around his eye. The female victim handed over about $300 and the robbers ran off.

Mr Tier said quick work by police staff saw two men arrested a short time later, after they were tracked by a police dog. The stolen cash was recovered and the hammer is yet to be located. The offenders also allegedly had cannabis on them and would be facing charges including aggravated robbery and possession of cannabis for supply.


Mr Tier described the incident as "appalling". "It's a bloody shame these people are going to be leaving with a sour taste in their mouth," he said.

He commended the work of police staff on duty at the time and said the victims, while traumatised, were in "relatively good spirits" and planned to continue their holiday. Mr Tier said it was important for tourists to consider the safety of the locations they parked overnight.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or seen the offenders is asked to contact police. The alleged offenders were carrying a backpack between them and were possibly walking on Victoria St, Dargaville, between 12.15am and 1.30am yesterday. Call Dargaville CIB on 09 439 3400 and ask for Mr Tier, or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Dargaville incident was one of four aggravated robberies in Northland since the start of last week. Whangarei police were investigating a series of robberies targeting Tikipunga Super Liquor, Otangarei's Jack St dairy and the Water St Domino's Pizza. All three occurred between April 13 and 20 and involved offenders wielding weapons including knives.