Shopkeepers are in shock after a "brutal" attack on a man in his barbers shop.

Police and ambulance crews were called to the Raja Salon, in Village Way East, Rayners Lane, at 1.45pm yesterday to reports of a serious assault.

A man, believed to be in his 50s and a member of staff in the shop, was found with a severe head injury and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Staff from surrounding shops had rushed to the aid of the man, who was bleeding heavily, as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Max Padhiar from the Tate and Lane hardware store said: "It was a really brutal attack. For something like that to happen in the middle of the day in Rayners Lane, it's just shocking.

"To see something like that in real life is just horrible."

Phil Greeno, who owns a model shop nearby, said: "When it happened I was with customers and didn't see the attack.

"The first I heard about it was when the police and ambulance arrived and it was quite a surprise.

"Rayners Lane is quite a safe place and I have been here for nearly 40 years. I've never seen anything as serious as that before in the middle of the day around here."

The store, which is split down the middle and is also a TV repair shop, has been taped off since yesterday by police as forensic officers and detectives examine the scene.

Police say the victim is now in a stable condition and they would like to speak to anyone who may have seen an argument between him and another man before the attack.

No arrests have been made.