A man brandished a knife in a Hamilton dairy, then fled after hearing the police were on their way.

Officers are appealing for public help in tracking the man.

Acting Detective Sergeant Michael Handley said the man entered the Ellicot Road Dairy at about 1.20pm today and approached the counter. His face was partially covered and he was carrying a black-handled kitchen knife.

The man left the Hamilton dairy after being told the police were on their way.
The man left the Hamilton dairy after being told the police were on their way.

"He has struck the blade of the knife on to the counter twice, directly in front of the attending staff member.

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"The staff member told the offender that police were on their way, and the offender promptly left the shop empty-handed, heading in a westerly direction on Ellicott [Rd]."

The man is described as Maori or Pacific, 1.68m tall, solid to fat build, and was wearing distinctive clothing.

The police ask that anyone who recognises the man from the pictures, or who witnessed the incident to contact Constable Justin Hamilton, on 021 191 1215, or the Hamilton police on 07-858 6200.