Marissa Calligeros and Tammy Mills, 15 October 2015

A man, whose dramatic arrest has been captured by security cameras, allegedly poured flammable liquid over the floor of a Melbourne petrol station and threatened to set it alight.

The frightening incident was one of three armed hold ups in Melbourne on Thursday morning.

Security cameras captured the moment the man was arrested inside a laundromat on Pascoe Vale Road in Glenroy, after he fled the nearby Caltex service station.

The footage shows four police officers chasing the man into the laundromat, where he reaches for a knife.

The officers used capsicum spray to subdue the man, before tackling him to the ground. One police officer also used his baton, striking the man in the leg.

Only minutes before his arrest, the man had been speaking to another customer at the laundromat. The CCTV footage shows the man holding the knife behind his back, while speaking to the unsuspecting customer.

The 30-year-old Campbellfield man was wanted after allegedly threatening to burn down the Caltex service station.

He walked into the station and poured a flammable liquid over the floor about 6.30am, police said.

“He had a verbal confrontation with staff and threatened to burn the service station down,” a police spokesman said.

The man was treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics, before being taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. One police officer also needed treatment after being affected by the capsicum spray.

The dramatic incident unfolded only two hours after a service station and a convenience store in Albert Park were held up by two men brandishing shotguns.

The masked men stormed a Caltex service station on Ferrars Street about 3.50am. A shot was fired during the robbery, but noone was injured.

The men then held up a 7-Eleven store on Victoria Avenue shortly after 4am.

In both robberies the men threatened the store attendants, before fleeing with cigarettes and money.

Police believe the same men tried to hold up a convenience store on Epsom Road in Ascot Vale at 3.25am, but the attendant there refused to unlock the front doors and let them inside.

Last month, a masked bandit squirted petrol on service station attendant in Glen Waverley and threatened to set him alight.

The robber stormed into the Caltex service station on Springvale Road holding a large knife and Powerade bottle filled with petrol about 4.30am on September 20. He fled after attendant handed over cash.

Service station hold-ups usually involve a knife and last about 23 seconds, said Mark McKenzie, chief executive of the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association.

But Mr McKenzie said offenders were becoming more aggressive, particularly in areas where petrol drive-offs were not seen to be taken seriously by police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 FREE.

Extracted in full from The Age.