Caught in the crossroads of a robbery at a Whanganui gas station, a local man decided to use a newspaper stand to stop the crime.

The Gull station on Victoria Ave was robbed on Thursday night when a man and a woman smashed one of the sliding glass doors down to get inside.

The pair got behind the counter and started putting tobacco products in a bag.

A Whanganui man, who chose not to be named, was there at the time getting gas.

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"Me and my partner pulled up and we were trying to approach the sliding doors.

"Before I turned around all I heard was 'get out the way' ... and I saw this fella with a crowbar and a mask over his face," he said.

"He smashed the door down and him and a girl ran in and jumped the counter.

"They ran straight for the smokes."

The man then asked other customers who were there for help to stop what was happening.

"I just ran inside and just seen the heaviest thing ... it was the newspaper stand.

"So I ran and chucked it at his head and it made him come out."

He said the offender was angry and pursued him.

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"All I saw was him running outside trying to whack me with that crowbar. Then he whacked my partner's car and smashed the window.

"He ended up running off."

Gull's store manager wasn't there at the time of the theft, but reviewed what had happened on security camera footage.

"The other person I think, lifted the newspaper stand and threw it at them ... one of the civilians," he said.

In the struggle the culprits were not able to take much at all, the manager said.

Senior Sergeant Shayne Wainhouse said police were investigating and wanted information from anyone in the area at the time of the theft.

He said tobacco products were the target and the offenders ran from the store into London Street before possibly leaving the area in a speeding car towards Aramoho.

The attempted theft at Gull was the second robbery in the city in two days.

Jaspreet Bhullar was working on the counter at the Black Bull Liquor on Duncan St on Wednesday night when he saw three men come in with a baseball bat and a hammer.

"They just put a bag on the counter and asked me to put cash inside.

"Another guy just came behind the counter and he opened up the smoke cabinet and he put smokes in there [his bag]."

He said about 20 bottles of liquor were taken; 10 small bottles of Jägermeister, and roughly eight bottles of Jim Beam whiskey and Gordon's gin.

Bhullar said he looked outside when the culprits left and saw them get into a car similar to a dark coloured Subaru Forrester.

He then called the police who were at the scene within five minutes.

Wainhouse said police were still investigating the Black Bull Liquor theft as well and wanted anyone with information to come forward.