19 Dec 2022

Hamilton dairy owner on edge days after worker was violently attacked in robbery

8:49 am on 19 December 2022
Irvine St Dairy, Waikato.

Irvine St Dairy in Hamilton. Photo: Google Maps/Supplied

A Hamilton dairy owner is on edge after a violent attack on his worker, which ended in two of his fingers being cut off with a machete during a robbery.

The robbery took place at Irvine St Dairy on Saturday morning and the offenders are yet to be caught by police.

Dairy owner Puneet Singh told Morning Report he opened the shop this morning, scared that the offenders - or others - would come back.

"It's very horrifying and scary at the moment.

"I opened the shop this morning and I was preparing myself. At any time, they can come again because they are still at large, no one knows where are they."

Singh said he was on edge because those who commit such robberies "know there is no consequences".

The dairy owner said his worker remains in hospital recovering from surgery where his thumb and finger were reattached following the attack.

"He is still really scared about [what happened]."

Singh said he wanted to see accountability for the attack - as such incidents were happening too frequently.

He said his worker had not tried to stop them from taking whatever they wanted from the shop - but the offenders chose to attack him anyway.

Closing his shop was not an option, Singh said, as he still had bills to pay.

"If I close my shop, that's not stopping them going to other shops."

Singh said the only way to deter offenders was to bring in harsher penalties or programmes to help them.

"We should work on making them stop doing it ... otherwise they will keep doing it as there is no consequences at the moment."

Police Minister Chris Hipkins​ told Stuff the robbery was a "horrific and cowardly attack", and said his sympathies were with the victims, their families and friends, as police were "doing everything they can to find who did this".

"Police remain in contact with dairy owner groups, which feel targeted and fearful and should not have to put up with this. They are also successfully arresting offenders," Hipkins said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kristine Clarke said the incident had shown the "extreme levels of violence" offenders were willing to go to.

She said the violence shown was distressing for everyone involved.

"It's really really disturbing - it's really taking this type of thing to another level. The gratuitous violence that was involved is distressing obviously to the victim and the victim's family and to the wider community and to the police officers that are dealing with it."

Clarke said police were determined to hold the offenders to account.

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