It was a Black Friday for one alleged machete-wielding robber who was foiled by a fog cannon installed in a Northland superette.

Security camera footage of the incident has been posted on the Northland Police Facebook page following the arrest of a 21-year-old man.

It shows a person dressed in a dark coloured top and tan coloured shorts entering the Kaikohe business on Friday, September 13 at 9.06pm.

The man, allegedly armed with a machete, slams the weapon down on the counter and reaches over and attempts to grab items.

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Six seconds after the man entered the superette the fog cannon is activated by the manager and when the first billow of white fog is dispensed the alleged robber jumps back as if startled.

However, as the fog pours from the device attached to the ceiling the man leaps over the counter but soon jumps back when he can't open what appears to be the till.

Undeterred, he again jumps the counter where the area is now filled with a huge cloud of white fog. Eventually he runs out empty handed.

The whole incident took 31 seconds and police say the fog cannon prevented another robbery from happening.

"A great prevention tool," police said in the Facebook post.

A man has appeared in Kaikohe District Court on a charge of assault with intent to rob. He was remanded in custody and next appears by an audio visual link on October 1.

A worker, who was in the Kaikohe Discounter, said he was restocking the fridge with drinks when a man entered the business.

He managed to alert his co-worker who was taking a break in the back and she activated the cannon.

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It was a person out on the street who rang police after spotting what they thought was smoke billowing from the front door of the shop.

"A customer thought it was on fire and rang the fire brigade and then the police," the worker said.

Fog cannons are machines that release dense fog when triggered.

Only seconds after a cannon is activated a robber or burglar is blinded and confused, cannot see and will usually retreat immediately as they don't want to get caught in the fog.

The non-violent but explosive action will create a barrier between staff, goods and offenders.

The white fog is breathable and harmless to humans, animals, electronics and fixtures.

It is not the first time Kaikohe Discounter has been targeted by thieves. In October last year two youths entered Kaikohe Discounter and confronted two young men working behind the counter.

They were quickly followed by two more offenders, one of whom had a red bandanna across his face. One youth used what appeared to be a crowbar to threaten one of the shop workers.

Two others brutally assaulted the shop assistants while a fourth raided the till and the cigarette cabinet.