Roto Street Store owner Chanty Pich, centre, will be attending a support meeting this Friday for Nelson and Tasman dairy owners. The meeting is being facilitated by Nelson city councillor Mike Rutledge, left, deputy mayor Paul Matheson, right, plus other councillors, support groups and police. Photo: Kate Russell.

Dairy owner: I don’t feel safe

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A Nelson dairy owner says she feels “terrified” following an attempted robbery at her store, and is resorting to installing a panic alarm to protect herself and her staff.

Three fifteen-year-old boys, armed with knives, tried to rob the Roto Street Store in Tahunanui earlier this month, but they were arrested and charged thanks to the help of two members of the public who stepped in.

Owner Chanty Pich says it was a “lucky escape” but is now doing everything she can to prevent her store from being targeted again.

She says she does not feel safe in her store, especially at night.

“It is much worse at night as we are always working by ourselves, so that is why I am looking into an alarm.

“But the police come and check on us a bit and we are so thankful for that. They asked me what time I close my shop and say they will drive past before that.”

The Roto Street Store is one of at least five Nelson dairies to be targeted in a spate of robberies in the last four months, with the Night Owl Store, the Tahuna Store, the Hira Store and the Victory Discounter Dairy all being hit.

Police have made arrests for all of the robberies but one – the Tahuna Store incident.

But despite police efforts, Nelson city’s deputy mayor Paul Matheson says more needs to be done and has organised a support meeting this Friday at the council chambers for both Nelson and Tasman dairy owners.

“To have a spate of robberies like this is just unacceptable. Look at the ages of the offenders – I’ve never seen anything like it,” he says.

“The cops have done a wonderful job catching them, but we need to put our eyes and ears out there and get ourselves in a room to ask ‘what can we do?’

“We want to let them know that they are not alone.”

Paul says he has spoken to most of the dairy owners, who have been very receptive to the idea.

“They have been overwhelmed with support but they are still fearful of who is going to walk in the door. There is something special about your local dairy, and we should value that.”

Kamlash Maisuriya of The Tahuna Store on Muritai St says he thinks the meeting is a “good idea” and will be attending.

He also said he hadn’t looked at any preventive measures since his store was robbed in April, but would be interested to hear what other people had to say.

Paul is expecting Nelson city councillors to be in attendance, as well as Victim Support, Neighbourhood Support and the Nelson Police.

Nelson Bays Acting Area Commander Senior Sergeant Blair Hall says they’ll play their part at the meeting by offering advice and answering questions.

“We’re always happy to work with council to build strong links with the community, and this is a good chance for dairy owners to come together to give support and build a network.”