Two ram raids in less than a month have forced a sleepless dairy owner in Northland to install bollards and to move tobaccco and vaping products off-site after hours.
The manager of Bank Street Food Mart, who did not wish to be identified, said he could not sleep after twin robberies in such a short space of time and the wanton destruction of his dairy.
His business was first targeted early on December 29 and while he was sorting repairs and insurance claims, another ram raid on Saturday heaped more misery for his young family.
A stolen ute is believed to have been used in Saturday's ram raid and no arrests had been made by late yesterday.
Platypus Shoes on Cameron St was ram raided as well, a couple of hours before thieves targeted the dairy.
Since the latest robbery, the dairy manager has put up a sign outside the entrance saying he no longer kept cash, tobacco and vaping products on site overnight. However, he removed the notice on Monday as customers thought he had stopped selling them.
"These are high-selling items and 50 to 60 per cent of dairies will close if they don't sell tobacco and vaping products because when people buy them, they also buy other stuff like milk and bread.
"I move these tobacco and vape products offsite when I close in the evening and restock them in the morning. I am also putting bollards because I just can't afford $10,000 worth of damage and thefts of products each time my dairy is ram raided.
"I couldn't sleep for three days after the first ram raid and kept checking the CCTV camera in the store and had to close the business for two days to undertake repairs. The insurance excess alone is $5000 and another $1000 for the bollards and that excludes repair cost.
"With bollards in place, they won't be able to ram raid and I want to put them in place as quickly as possible otherwise robberies will keep happening," he said.
During Saturday's robbery, he said the whole tobacco cabinet was removed after the ram raiders could not take cigarettes out.
Russell Edwards lives upstairs from the dairy and said a loud bang woke him early Saturday.
He owns the building that houses Bank St Barbers next to the dairy.
Edwards said he saw two young guys running across the road from the dairy towards two vehicles facing north that were then driven away.
"They were wearing hoodies so they must have stuffed things in their pockets. They've obviously done their homework because they aimed at the hinges and knocked the blockwall during the ram raid.
"The dairy owners are really nice people. It's a shame it had to happen to them," Edwards said.
Police said five dairies in Whangārei were attacked and robbed using weapons last November alone.
A Whangārei District Council spokeswoman said WDC has been helping the dairy manager get permission and complete the process required to put bollards in since it learned of the first ram raid on January 14.
The dairy manager is given the licence to occupy the section of footpath where the bollards will go and WDC has waived the fee for this but he must take a few more steps before the bollards can be installed.
"Because the footpath is owned by council, we are legally required to ensure health and safety issues will be managed correctly. This includes how the pedestrians will be directed past when the work is going on and how the traffic will be managed if the contractors have to go into the roadway."
The spokeswoman said underground services such as water, power and gas have to be located before any excavation work to avoid damaging them and to avoid injury to the contractor and members of the public.
She said WDC understood the ram raids have been upsetting for the dairy manager.