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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
'Hero' shot in security van raid
Robbery scene
Police said the robbers had no regard for human life
A rail commuter described as "heroic" by police is in a serious condition after being shot by robbers as he went to the aid of a security guard.

The 24-year-old man, who has not been named, was shot in the chest with a handgun after intervening in the hold-up at Rayleigh, Essex.

The masked robbers attacked the security guard as she loaded a cash machine at the town's railway station.

The robbers escaped in a Ford Escort later found in Eastcheap, Rayleigh.

It is believed they may have got into another vehicle after abandoning the white Escort.

It was very heroic, but we don't know exactly what he did yet
Det Supt Michael Field, of the British Transport Police

Det Supt Michael Field, of the British Transport Police, said: "We believe the young man was attempting to stop the robbery.

"He has been taken to hospital where he has undergone surgery. His current condition is serious but stable.

"It was very heroic, but we don't know exactly what he did yet. We are waiting to see if he is going to be OK.

"His parents have been informed and they are with him in hospital."

Very dangerous

Det Supt Field said the robbers, who escaped with a substantial sum of money, were "reckless, very dangerous" and "appear not to have any regard for human life".

Detectives said the robbers, who wore scarves covering their faces, escaped in a white Escort van, found discarded less than a mile away soon after.

Witnesses reported seeing them get into a large saloon car, but police do not have a detailed description of the robbers.

Det Supt Field said it was not known how many robbers were involved in the attack.

He confirmed the female security guard and the male driver had not been seriously harmed in the incident.

Police said they had located several key witnesses and their investigation was currently focused on the Essex area, although it could be expanded.

Police pay tribute to "heroic" commuter

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