The owner of a Welcome Bay service station targeted by an armed robber said he was considering hiring a security guard or shortening opening hours after an attack on Tuesday night.

Tauranga police said about 10.20pm on Tuesday night, a man entered the shop area of the Caltex service station on Welcome Bay Rd armed with a large knife and left with cigarettes and cash.

CCTV footage of the robbery at the Welcome Bay Caltex. Photo / NZ Police
CCTV footage of the robbery at the Welcome Bay Caltex. Photo / NZ Police

Welcome Bay Caltex owner Lakhvir "Lucky" Singh, who is based in Auckland, said the robber approached his staff member with a knife.

CCTV footage from inside the store showed the robber filling a plastic bag with cigarettes and grabbing cash from the till, while the employee helplessly stood to the side.

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Police at the scene of the robbery. Photo / George Novak
Police at the scene of the robbery. Photo / George Novak

The young staff member had been scared by the ordeal, he said.

The robber had his face covered and appeared to be stumbling like he was drunk.

Singh said the man came in "easily" and did not seem scared.

"He was not in a rush."

Singh had been cleared out of all of his cash and cigarettes, the total value of which he did not yet know.

The store currently closed at midnight but after the incident, he would consider closing earlier or even look into hiring a security guard.

At Welcome Bay Foodmarket down the road, a staff member who did not want to be named said the attack on the store was "really bad and really sad."

"It's someone trying to make a living," she said.

Welcome Bay Foodmarket had also been the target of armed robbers. In September last year, a masked woman armed with a knife held up the store, stealing cash and cigarettes before fleeing from the store.

She believed the attacks were becoming more common due to the rising price of cigarettes.

Meanwhile, other local business owners felt the attack was out of the ordinary.

Welcome Bay Four Square owner Darshan Singh said most of the local community were good sorts.

"Rough people come in but nothing like that [happens]," he said.

Waugh's Pharmacy owner Neil Waugh said news of the attack was "a bit of a shock."

"There's no problems here ... it's a nice area."

Welcome Bay Books owner Robyn Williams said there had been only one time in the eight years she had owned the store that she had felt uncomfortable.

While there were "lots of gang members" that came through her shop, she did not feel threatened and a large portion of her customers were locals.

Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Rawlinson said police were appealing for information following the robbery.

Police would be releasing CCTV stills of the offender when they were available, he said.

Police are asking anyone who saw the incident, or witnessed two males hanging around the front of the service station in the half-hour before the robbery, to get in contact on (07) 577 4300 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.