They've been bashed and attacked with machetes, hammers and golf clubs. The attacks have happened in front of their wives and their kids.

And now, Waikato dairy owners have united and are urging the Government to do more to protect them in light of an ever-increasing number of violent aggravated robberies on dairy and service station workers recently.

Hamilton Labour MP Jamie Strange, National's David Bennett and Waikato police Detective Sergeant Nigel Keall were on hand to hear their concerns and try to offer some reassurance.

Emm Jay Dairy owner Sandip Patel made his first public appearance, still wearing bandages, since he was discharged from hospital after being beaten with a machete earlier this week.

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With his left eye bruised and bloodied, the owner of the Hillcrest Minimart, who wanted to be known as Michael, spoke of his encounter with three young men at his store early yesterday morning in which they attacked him with a hammer.

National MP for Hamilton East David Bennett addresses the 80-strong crowd of dairy owners at a meeting in Hamilton this afternoon. Photo / Belinda Feek
National MP for Hamilton East David Bennett addresses the 80-strong crowd of dairy owners at a meeting in Hamilton this afternoon. Photo / Belinda Feek

Every dairy owner had a story, and meeting organiser Manish Thakkar, of Parkwood Supervalue, said the situation was now out of control.

He wanted the Government to do more.

Dipak Patel, of Mitcham St Dairy in Hamilton, said he wants his family and himself to feel safer as they go about their business.

"We just want more safety from the Government. They are funding fog cannons but it's only mostly for Auckland not for Hamilton ... we are not feeling secure anymore.

"Before, we opened in the morning without any fear, but now when we open the shutters we think someone may be there today, or tomorrow."

He said it wasn't possible for dairies to stop selling cigarettes as it made up about 60 per cent of their income.

Former South Korean soldier and Hillcrest Minimart owner, Michael, is still haunted after being attacked with a hammer yesterday morning. Photo / Belinda Feek
Former South Korean soldier and Hillcrest Minimart owner, Michael, is still haunted after being attacked with a hammer yesterday morning. Photo / Belinda Feek

There was currently only one dairy - in Te Kowhai - which had opted to stop selling cigarettes.

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Ravi Vansia, of the Ngaruawahia Price Cutter, told the Herald something had to change.

"It's becoming an everyday occurrence. What are we waiting for, someone to lose their life? We need to do something now. Start being proactive."

He said the Government could help subsidise fog cannons from the taxes they collect.

Hamilton dairy owner Chirag Dodia suggested vending machines be installed.

Waikato dairy owners listen intently. Photo / Belinda Feek
Waikato dairy owners listen intently. Photo / Belinda Feek

He said they could be partly subsidised by the cigarette companies and the Government. The machines would be built into the shop and bolted down so they would be difficult to steal.

Strange said it was an option which could be investigated and he urged them to put pressure on the cigarette companies.

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He would now meet with a small group of dairy owners, including Thakkar, on Monday to discuss and prioritise their options.

Some dairy owners called for community policing to be reinstated. Vansia said with no local cop based in Ngaruawahia it only encouraged crime.

But Bennett said it was up to the police commissioner to decide how cities were set up and they had opted against it.

Emm Jay Dairy owner Sandip Patel is still recovering after being beaten with a machete on Tuesday morning. Photo / Belinda Feek
Emm Jay Dairy owner Sandip Patel is still recovering after being beaten with a machete on Tuesday morning. Photo / Belinda Feek

"It would mean 60 less cops in Hamilton if you go back to community policing ... so you've got to be really careful if you want that."

He suggested dairy owners around the country rally the Government to increase penalties on those who commit aggravated robberies.

"We should be asking for harder sentences on those who attack the shopkeepers. There's too much free love given out under this Government at the moment, they're just going to let these guys get away with whatever they want."

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Vending machines used to cost around $25,000 but had dropped slightly to $18,000, he said. It was still a cost for cigarette companies if rolled out nationwide but worth looking into.

Keall said they wanted the community, including business owners to feel safe, and police were doing everything they could to ensure that happened.

"What are we doing about that ... we're looking to work with you both before and afterwards to minimise the chances of that happening."

If confronted by armed robbers, he encouraged dairy staff to comply with their demands and ring 111 as soon as possible.