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CCTV footage of the incident shows the masked assailant rushing into the dairy in Pine Hill Rd brandishing what appears to be a pistol.
Pointing the gun repeatedly at the woman — who stands screaming behind the counter — and at the till while holding a black bag, the man repeatedly yells "Hurry up!" and "Fill it up ... or I’ll shoot you!"
However, after about a minute, the man rushes from the dairy, apparently empty-handed.
A still from the video shows distinctive tattoos on the man’s right fingers and hand.
• Dunedin police (03) 471-4800, Crimestoppers 0800 555-111.