There has been a spate of gun crimes against forecourts in recent weeks. In the worst case, a cashier was shot in the face. The incident happened on July 27 at around 5pm, at the Star Lane BP garage in Hooley, Surrey.

The cashier was said to have received a "serious, but not life-threatening" injury.

The police issued a description of the perpetrator and by 7pm that same day, a man had been arrested. Thirty three-year-old Jamie Lane is due to appear before the Old Bailey on October 27.

The garage is a company-owned site and BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams said the victim would receive help and counselling.

In two other incidents in July, forecourt staff were threatened by gunmen.

In Buckinghamshire, at the Esso station on Oakfield Road in Aylesbury, three men armed with a gun demanded money from the cashiers. Luckily they were not seriously injured during the incident. And in Bishop’s Stortford, a teenager with a gun demanded cash from the night kiosk worker.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire police said that no shots were fired during the incident but the use of a gun in a small town robbery was a matter for great concern.

These incidents back up statistics from BOSS which reveal that gun crime is on the increase. Its 2005 survey, showed that the use of guns was up from 2.1 per 100 sites to 2.3, although weapons-related incidents overall had dropped from seven per 100 sites in 2004, to 6.1 in 2005.