Police in Kaitaia have a warning for would-be robbers — don't go anywhere near the North Rd or Central dairies.
Detective Sergeant Paula Drewery offered that advice after three youths attempted to rob the North Rd Dairy, opposite Kaitaia Intermediate School, at gunpoint on Thursday afternoon.
"These dairies have exceptionally good CCTV cameras that go well beyond the immediate premises," she said, "and anyone who sets out to commit any sort of offence there will be pinged."
Thursday's incident, the third since Chandrakant and Dipika Patel bought the business in 2001, involved two males and one female, all with their faces covered with masks and hooded tops, one of them armed with a pistol.
It was not known yesterday whether the firearm was genuine, but police were treating it as such until they established otherwise.
The trio rushed at Mr Patel, who had watched them from the doorway as they prepared to enter the dairy. He asked his wife to call the police, a male offender then pointing the handgun at him, and demanding money. Mr Patel said he responded with "What money?", at which point one of the male offenders punched him in the face.
He ran into the shop, chased by the offenders, and asked his wife to fetch "the stick". She did so, and the youths fled, empty-handed. Mr Patel said yesterday that he had not been entirely surprised by the incident. He had seen several youths, at least one with a bandanna over his face, loitering nearby on Monday afternoon. They had run off when he and his wife went out on to the street.
Meanwhile, police executed a number of search warrants on Thursday, and arrested a 17-year-old boy.
He appeared before the Kaitaia District Court on Friday and was remanded in custody until July 27 on charges of assault with intent to rob and committing an offence with a firearm.
Mr Drewery said yesterday that the female suspect, who was armed with a kitchen knife, had also been identified, but had yet to be charged. The offender who presented the pistol had yet to be located. Both are believed to be aged around 15.
The arrested youth had told police that he had planned to rob the Central Dairy earlier in the year, and had been part of an attempt on Monday that had "gone wrong". On Thursday they had been intending to take money and cigarettes.
He also admitted involvement in numerous robberies in Christchurch, which inquiries had failed to substantiate as having been committed.
Anyone who was in the vicinity of the dairy at around 4pm on Thursday, and might be able to assist the police, is asked to call the Kaitaia station on (09) 408-6500.
The last North Rd Dairy robbery was in October 2015, when a 12-year-old boy armed with a rifle tried to stuff sweets into his pockets but was too impaired to do so.
He was chased off with a broom.