A ram raid with a stolen vehicle badly damaged the entrance of a Hawke's Bay hotel but the "incompetent" thieves left empty-handed.

Dannevirke Sergeant Gary McKernon said it looked like a ute stolen from a nearby residential street had been reversed through the Mangatera hotel's front entrance.

The ute smashed through large exterior wooden doors and a set of glass doors inside the building and also damaged shelving in the 4.30am ram raid on Monday.

Although the attempted raid caused "a huge amount of damage", nothing was stolen and police believe those involved could not get out of the ute after it became stuck in the narrow entrance.


"[They] didn't even take anything due to their incompetence," McKernon said.

After becoming stuck, it is believed the would-be robbers drove away and abandoned the ute.

McKernon said hotel owners Donald and Denice Speedy were "very upset about it all".

Donald Speedy said he had been told about the raid about "five minutes after it happened".

He did not know how much the damage would cost to repair, and did not want to comment further.

Police asked to keep an eye out for the vehicle involved, believed to be a mid-1990s white ute with a badly damaged rear.

Police also asked the public to report any suspicious activity on Monday morning. It is believed the offenders had tried to steal another car in the area.

The hotel has operated on its existing site in Dannevirke town since 1955 - although references to the public house date back to 1889 when pioneer settler Lawritz Triis built the first Mangatera Hotel. It is currently for sale.