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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Van robbery 'left me suicidal'
As figures show armed attacks on security guards are on the rise, one guard tells BBC News how a raid ruined his life.

After 16 years as a "cash transit" security man, Colin Baker, 42, was shot when a gang of five attacked his van in September 2004.

We were working nights, just doing the rounds filling cash machines in the West Midlands.

Mr Baker was attacked while filling cash machines on night duty

We pulled up at a petrol forecourt in West Bromwich and we were just going about our normal duties, filling the cash machines, when I saw a person brandishing a handgun coming towards me.

I threw the money back into the van and ran away. At the time we had people in a surveillance vehicle following us taking video footage - I ran towards them.

While I was running, I turned around to look behind me to see if the man with the gun was following me - then I heard a bang and my right leg gave way. I just collapsed on forecourt.

From there, the gunman stood over me and told me to get back to the van. I could feel blood on my leg and I told him I couldn't, so he dragged me across the forecourt by my helmet. That was when the pain started to kick in.

He got me back to the van and said: "I'm going to count to three and if you don't give me the money, I'm going to blast your head off."

He counted one, then counted two and I started to panic, thinking three's next. My colleague must have heard, so he opened the van and they took the money and left.

Psychological effects

I was in a critical condition for a couple of days in hospital. The bullet had smashed my right femur bone - it just isn't there anymore.

Going from working all the hours I used to do down to nothing - it does obviously knock you about

My right leg is now two inches shorter than it was, I can't walk long distances and I have to use crutches.

I haven't worked since, and I won't be able to go back to the same job because I can't drive. It has ruined my life.

Psychologically it has screwed me up totally and utterly - I have contemplated suicide on two or three occasions.

Going from working all the hours I used to do down to nothing, struggling to work out how to pay the next bill, it does obviously knock you about.

When I was in hospital I was seeing the hospital psychologist and I still am. The company and the union have both been supportive.

As security guards, we are just doing a service for the public. We are transporting money, and that money belongs to the general public.

If we carry on getting attacked, that money won't get to the high streets anymore. That will have a knock-on effect for everyone.



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