A MAN shot at an ice cream parlour is in a "critical" condition, police have said.

They have also confirmed that the man is in his twenties but have not named him.

He was shot in the second of two attacks in the space of three days at Cakes and Shakes in High Road, Woodford Green shortly before 2pm yesterday afternoon (Monday).

A bullet was fired through the front window of the cafe on Saturday, November 12, but no-one was injured. According to local shopkeepers, they received leaflets from the Met Police's Trident unit yesterday - which investigates gang-related crime and shootings - informing them about the incident at the weekend.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "Officers are investigating the possibility that the two incidents may be linked.

"However they remain open minded."

"There have been no arrests at this time."

Families and traders have spoken of their shock after the shooting.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "Some of the shopkeepers I have spoken to this morning have told me that it was one of the owners who was shot.

"They said he was standing talking to his mother at the time."

Police closed part of High Road yesterday afternoon so forensic experts could gather evidence.

Traffic was diverted up Empress Avenue and Chelmsford Road which caused huge rush-hour tailbacks, but the road was re-opened by 6.30pm.

A 45-year-old woman from Fuller's Road, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "It's horrifying. It's unheard of for anything like this to happen around here, it's incredibly alarming.

"We walk our dog around here all the time and it's so worrying to think we could have been walking outside the shop when it happened."

Harry Roberts, who works at Wine Mill in Derby Road, said: "It's terrible to think this could happen here. Woodford Green is a great area, it's not the kind of thing you imagine happening."

Frank Cruder, Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for Chelmsford and Derby Road, said he was 'stunned' by the shooting. He added: "I have lived here for 20 years.

"We have had the odd few problems with night clubs and things like that, but I have never heard of a shooting.

"People are absolutely flabbergasted that something like this could happen on their doorstep."

Councillor Richard Hoskins has represented the area for more than 20 years.

He said: "It's horrifying.

"In the 50 years I have lived locally, I have never heard of anything like this.

"This is the type of area where things like this just don't happen.

"I have had a lot of calls from local people who are absolutely terrified by what has happened."

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