Shopkeepers need more protection from rising violence after a spate of recent attacks, a business leader has pleaded.

Postmaster’s son Craig Hodson-Walker was shot dead as he tried to protect his family’s store in rural Worcestershire.

James Watkins, executive director of West Midlands Business Council, warned not enough was being done to tackle the menace of raids on small businesses.

Other victims in Birmingham include Habib Malik who cheated death when stabbed in the neck over a few packs of cigarettes at his Stechford newsagents. And Rashpal Mattu was hit over the head with a bottle of spirits when he grappled with an intruder at his off-licence in Bartley Green.

Mr Watkins made the call to the national council of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents in Birmingham yesterday.

“Newsagents in the Midlands are having to put up with violence and terrible attacks on a daily basis,” he said. “These sort of crimes cause great hurt, major financial pain and as we have seen can tragically even lead to loss of life. It is time we refused to tolerate it.”

Mr Hodson-Walker, aged 29, died when shot in the chest during the robbery at the shop in Fairfield, near Bromsgrove, last month.

His father, Ken, was shot in the leg during the heist and four men have since been charged with Craig’s murder.

Forty-year-old Mr Malik was slashed across the throat and stabbed in the back at his Lifestyle Express shop on Richmond Road, on December 18. Four masked men escaped with a dozen packets of cigarettes and doctors said it was a miracle the blade missed arteries. CCTV cameras captured Mr Mattu’s most recent brush with violence when he was attacked in his shop. The plucky 61-year-old was smashed over the head with a bottle of whisky as he grappled with a balaclava-clad thug at Kingsbridge Wines in Bartley Green on Saturday, January 10.

Mr Watkins said the WMBC had been working across various police forces urging tougher action against retail crime.