Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Call to protect shopkeepers after Fairfield murder

Craig Hodson-Walker
Craig Hodson-Walker was shot dead in an armed raid on 9 January 2009

The mother of a murdered post office worker is backing moves to increase protection for rural shopkeepers.

Craig Hodson-Walker, 29, was shot dead in an armed raid at the family's shop in Fairfield, Worcestershire, in 2009.

Following his death, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents has asked the government to fund CCTV and staff training to make workers safer.

Judith Hodson-Walker said shop workers needed more protection and greater deterrents to criminals.

"I think police and the authorities are working towards trying to support shops and communities more, but the problem is the police are stretched so thinly," she said.

'Not police'

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents said it was concerned about the frequency of violent attacks on its members and was in talks with the Home Office about how to deal with the problem.

Fairfield General Stores
Three men were jailed after the raid on the post office in Fairfield

Vice President Parminder Singh said: "We are retailers, not the police force and we need some kind of training to diffuse a dangerous situation before it gets worse.

"We are losing our lives for the sake of earning a living and we need to know how to deal with it."

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "We take retail crime very seriously and have worked closely with the British Retail Consortium to develop the Retail Crime Action Plan, which sets out a broad range of actions to tackle crimes against businesses.

"In the near future we will distribute £5 million of grants to small businesses to help improve security and reduce opportunities for crime. We continue to work with the police and businesses to increase reporting of retail crime and tackle their concerns.

"Since 1997 more shoplifters are going to jail and there are tough sentencing guidelines in place for those who commit violence against shop staff."

Anselm Ribera, 34, and Christopher Morrissey, 32, of Birmingham, and Declan Morrissey, 34, of Solihull, were jailed in December for the murder of Craig Hodson-Walker.

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