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Spike in robberies prompts extra patrols

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/10/2016 Cleo Mary Fraser
CCTV footage of a dairy in Woolston being robbed. © NZ Police CCTV footage of a dairy in Woolston being robbed.

Extra police are patrolling Christchurch streets after a spike in the number of dairies being burgled and robbed by thieves on the hunt for pricey cigarettes.

Over the past few months several convenience stores have been targeted by armed robbers, while other shops have been broken into late at night.

The most recent armed incident was at Woolston dairy Night'n'Day which was held up by three men armed with a hammer and machete on Saturday.

It's alleged thieves made off with cigarettes and cash after threatening staff.

Police are following "positive lines of inquiry" in relation to the robbery which left workers shaken but unhurt.

Detective Sergeant Craig Johnson says while violence and weapons are not always used, any incident involving threats is traumatic for those involved.

A spike in the number of incidents has prompted police to increase patrols and warn dairy owners to upgrade their security.

In June, a worker at One Stop Convenience Store at Aranui was allegedly hit in the face with a hammer by a burglar who made off with cigarettes and cash.

Store owner Bhavesh Patel told NZ Newswire at the time that a rise in the price of tobacco and cigarettes was to blame for a spike in the number of small shops being targeted by criminals.

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