A CCTV camera has captured the moment three young women storm into a dairy and attack the shopkeeper in a violent bid for cigarettes in Waikato.
One woman was seen repeatedly punching a male worker standing behind the counter in a video posted to Tuakau, Pokeno & Districts Facebook page.
The man was then seen trying to hold on to the arms of the assailant.
Another woman then grabbed cigarette packets from a cabinet before the trio fled.
Sunny Kaushal, president of the Crime Prevention Group, said cigarettes have become "one of the main motivators" for dairy robberies.
He said the annual tobacco price hike has made cigarettes so expensive and making dairy owners fearful of their own safety.
"Lots of people are smoking addicts, and dairies are being robbed of cigarettes which end up in the underground black market," Kaushal said.
"Last night in Tuakau was one such incident and it's just going to get worse."
The group was calling for the Government to invest more in shop owners' safety.
Detective Senior Sergeant Graeme Fleming, Counties Manukau Police, said police are investigating an aggravated robbery incident at the Five Star Dairy in Tuakau, which was reported to have taken place around 8.10pm on Sunday, January 6.
"Three female offenders entered the store and demanded cash," Fleming said.
"One of the offenders assaulted a victim working in the store, punching him multiple times.
"The offenders fled the store with cigarettes and other items."
Fleming said police are following lines of enquiry into this incident including reviewing CCTV footage of the incident.
People with information are urged to contact Counties Manukau Police on 09 2611321 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.