Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Man shot dead in post office raid

Craig Hodson-Walker
Craig Hodson-Walker was shot in the chest. Photo from Facebook.

A man has been shot dead in a robbery at his family's post office in a village in Worcestershire.

Craig Hodson-Walker, 29, son of sub-postmaster Ken Hodson-Walker, was shot in the chest at Fairfields Store, in Fairfield, near Bromsgrove.

A second man was shot in the leg during the raid carried out by three men armed with a handgun and a sledgehammer.

The injured man has not been named, but is being treated at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital.

His condition is not yet known.

'Shocked and appalled'

One Fairfield resident, who knew the Hodson-Walker family, said Craig, "was a nice bloke but he was no shrinking violet".

"I can imagine he would have had a go. He was not the sort to say OK, when maybe he should have done."

A Post Office spokesman said: "We are shocked and appalled at this terrible attack against hard-working people serving the whole community and we are very concerned for the family and will be doing all we can to help them."

Superintendent Adrian Pass: 'Residents are in no immediate danger'

Builder David Green, 59, who buys his paper from the store, said the family, who lived above the post office, was "lovely" and added: "Everybody knows everybody here... We always have a little chat."

The same post office was raided five years ago and Gordon Witcomb, chairman of a neighbouring parish council, said he was not surprised to hear of the robbery.

"It is funny because around here there are a lot of little shops and there seems to be a programme of them being attacked by armed robbers," he said.

Police want to speak to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area around the time of the raid.

False registration

They said it was too early to say if anything had been stolen.

It is believed the robbers escaped in a silver Volkswagen Golf later found abandoned nearby. It had false registration plates W337 DDN and was stolen in Solihull on 31 December, police said.

The correct registration plate for the car was GP53 FJJ.

Officers said the car may have got caught in rush-hour traffic on its way to the Stourbridge Road island at the junction of the A491 Sandy Lane.

Fairfields Store
The post office was also targeted by raiders five years ago

Det Supt Jon Groves, of West Mercia Police, said: "Significant resources have been committed to this inquiry, which is in its very early stages.

"The offenders are dangerous and must not be approached."

Fairfield resident, Doreen Davis, said: "It's a shock that it's happened in Fairfield.

"We are only a sleepy place. If you didn't know we were here... you'd just drive through it.

"It brings you down to earth a little bit and makes you realise we are all vulnerable."

Fairfield First School, which is opposite the store, was shut following the shooting.

Head teacher Helen Hedar said several pupils had arrived at school at the time of the raid at about 0820 GMT, but no-one had seen anything as the school was set back from the road and did not overlook the shop.

Police cordons have been placed around much of the village and pedestrians and cars have been diverted away from Stourbridge Road, the main through road.

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