Auckland dairy owner takes drastic measures to combat aggravated robberies

It might still be the season of goodwill but some business owners see some of the worst of people all year round.

One Auckland dairy owner has had to take drastic measures to combat a series of aggravated robberies.

On the outside, Highway Dairy in east Auckland is your typical store. Tapendra Singh and his wife Armarjeet have owned it since 2003.

"Since then I've been robbed maybe more than 20-25 times. Every week they're coming," said Tapendra.

One such attack was in March last year. It was caught on CCTV, showing burglars raiding the dairy for thousands of dollars of cash and cigarettes. Tapendra was by himself and outnumbered by the two men.

Fed up with the constant aggravated robberies, the 67-year-old took matters into his own hands last year and installed a cage-like enclosure that runs the length and breadth of the shop counter.

"When I first came and saw it, it was pretty upsetting that the people were doing this. They supply a good service and stuff," said customer Ben Cotton.

It's an extreme measure borne from frustration. Tapendra's been threatened with screwdrivers, robbers wielding knives, but by far the worst attack was when he and his son were confronted by a man with a gun.

The former engineer with the Indian Army used his experience to take on the intruder.

"I know the combat training, how to fight with them, so I use my skill that time and snatched his gun," said Tapendra.

The fortress can't dodge a bullet, but the barrier has given the couple an iron-clad sense of security - and, at $2000, has been money well spent.

"[It gives me] peace of mind and I'm a high blood pressure patient and a diabetic. Now I feel myself less diabetic and less my blood pressure."

They've had no robberies since the crime-fighting caging was installed and it's only strengthened their resolve to stay in business.

Tapendra has never thought about closing up shop.

"I don't want them to think they win me. I want to win myself, I don't want to be scared by them."

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