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Somerset titles notch up record sales after shooting coverage

The Mid Somerset Newspapers Series has notched up record sales.

Sales of the Central Somerset Gazette, Shepton Mallet Journal, Wells Journal and Cheddar Valley Gazette reached 20,686 in the week when the papers reported on a double shooting and the gunman’s subsequent suicide.

The front page included a picture of the gunman, Gary Stone, in combat gear, and the place where his body was found, with three more pages of reports and pictures inside.

The photograph of Stone on the front page was a file picture taken in 2001 when he won a competition at a paintballing site in mid-Somerset.

Editor Phil Welch said sales of the series on the whole were on the up.

He said: “We have increased our ABC from 15,200 copies to 19,305 since 1997.

“This half year’s figures should also show a modest increase, despite a 5p cover price rise in April. Our next ABC target will be 19,500 copies and then 20,000.”

The latest figures are the highest in its 154-year history.