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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Robbery 'hero' wakes from surgery
Robbery scene
Police believe two shots were fired during the robbery
A commuter hailed by police as a hero after he was shot when trying to stop robbers attacking a security guard has regained consciousness after surgery.

Adam Mapleson, 24, intervened as the security guard and her colleague were held at gunpoint in Rayleigh, Essex.

Mr Mapleson is in a high dependency unit at Southend Hospital after being shot in the chest.

His father, Michael, said it was a "terrible incident", adding that his son had been "extremely brave".

A 25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robbers.

Bravery praised

"Adam is in a comfortable and slightly improved condition," she said. "He has regained consciousness overnight but remains in the high dependency unit at Southend Hospital."

The guard and her male colleague were attacked as they loaded money into a cash machine at Rayleigh station, police said.

Robbers are thought to have escaped with a box containing tens of thousands of pounds.

However, security experts have said if they try to force open the strong box, the notes will become soaked in a red indelible dye, rendering them useless.

Det Supt Michael Field, leading the investigation, praised the bravery of Mr Mapleson.

"He was heroic, there is no doubt about it," said Mr Field.

He was heroic, there is no doubt about it
Det Supt Michael Field, British Transport Police

"He went to the aid of a female guard who was being robbed. He put his life on the line."

The raiders escaped in a Ford Escort after the raid. It was later found abandoned in Eastcheap, less than a mile away.

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

Parts of the raid were caught on CCTV, which detectives hope will help them identify the raiders.

Two shots

The guards, who performed first aid on the man who helped them, were uninjured in the raid but left badly shaken.

Mr Field said the robbers were "reckless, very dangerous" and "appear not to have any regard for human life".

It is understood the man who fired the gun was wearing white or cream trainers. He is said to have fired two shots.

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


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Police pay tribute to "heroic" commuter



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