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A man has made off with $100 in coins after robbing a West Coast diary at gunpoint last night, police say.
The Blaketown dairy, on the corner of Robinson Street and Blake Street, was held up at 7pm, by a man carrying a pistol.
Speculation quickly spread on social media, prompting worried residents to lock their doors and check friends and family were safe.
Officers swarmed into the seaside suburb, setting up checkpoints. However, residents were allowed to move around.
Greymouth police Criminal Investigations Branch detective Michel Bloom, said this morning they were still looking for the perpetrator.
"At 7pm a male wearing black clothing walked into the Blaketown dairy, has presented a firearm - a pistol - has demanded money, and subsequently taken off with a sum of money in coins."
Mr Bloom said $100 in coins and four packs of cigarettes were taken.
After leaving the dairy, the man, who was not wearing a mask, ran off in the direction of Blaketown School.
"He ran down Blake Street and from there the direction is unknown," Mr Bloom said.
Police released details about the suspect, who has been described as being male, possibly Maori, 167cm tall (5ft 6in) of medium build and wearing a black hoodie with black track pants and dark shoes. He also has a beard of short length.
This morning police were still in the process of conducting a scene investigation which would involve checking for fingerprints.
He could not confirm if there was any security footage of the suspect.
Asked if dogs had been used at the scene, Mr Bloom said he would not go into what had been done so far.
Mr Bloom said they had spoken to witnesses and were interested in hearing from anyone who might have seen something at the time.
The dairy was cordoned off while police were investigating and there was no answer when the Greymouth Star rang this morning.
A neighbour said he did not hear anything and was unaware of what had gone on until the police knocked on his door.
He said the police were conducting door-to-door investigations last night to ask if residents had seen or heard anything.
The man, who has lived in Blaketown for the past 16 years, said he had not heard of anything like this happening before.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Greymouth Police or Crime stoppers 0800 555 111.
- By Nicholas McBride of the Greymouth Star