Six men smashed their way into a Waikato BP service station as the horrified sole staff member hid in a back room.
Waikato police Senior Sergeant Mike Henwood said the six men arrived at the BP Horotiu station in two separate, and stolen, cars about 2.20am.
It remains unclear what items the group used to smash their way inside, but once they gained entry the offenders focused on stealing cigarettes.
Noticing the group arrive, the staff member followed BP protocol and locked himself in a back room so was unharmed throughout the robbery.
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BP Horotiu was targeted in aggravated robberies three times last year; in March, July and August.
Anyone with information or who saw suspicious activity in the area at the time is urged to phone Hamilton police on 07 858 6200.