The tragedy that unfolded at Fairfield Post Office, where young Craig Hodson-Walker was murdered on January 9, is a frightening example of how vulnerable neighbourhood stores can be.

I don't know the Hodson-Walker family, but I know they are trying to run a community-focused family business just like you, the readers of this magazine, are doing every day in towns up and down the country.

Many of you will have been confronted by an armed or aggressive robber at some point in your life. It is difficult enough to hand over the hard-earned fruits of your labours to an antisocial idiot too lazy to work for themselves. So when that person is endangering your family as well, who could stand idly by and not get involved? It's a difficult question to answer.

What happened at Fairfield PO is thankfully extremely rare, but it shows how quickly events can escalate if a store is seen as a soft target. West Midlands and West Mercia police did a great job in getting 100 officers on the case straight away, but we all know that this was an unusual response.

C-Store has always said that retail crime needs to be taken more seriously by the authorities. Who knows how many so-called minor incidents of shoplifting or robbery are due to hardened criminals testing out in-store security, CCTV and police response prior to a more serious return visit?

I know I speak for all of us in sending out our heartfelt sympathy to the Hodson-Walker family, and when I say we must remember Craig and do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again. So take precautions, keep records, report everything. Don't be a soft target and please stay safe.