FLEET bookstores did a roaring trade on Saturday when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hit the shops in a simultaneous global launch.

Tills were ringing at WH Smith in Hart Shopping Centre, which sold 489 books and £6,000 worth of merchandise.

About 20 people were queuing outside the shop when it opened at 7.30am to start selling the eagerly awaited blockbuster, the fifth book in J K Rowling's best-selling series about boy wizard Harry. "The first ones arrived when the shopping centre opened its doors at 7am," said branch manager Edik Catling.

"We were extremely busy in the morning but it died down in the afternoon when everyone went home to start reading the book."

Maher Booksellers also opened at 7.30am ready for the rush. Staff donned fancy dress and there was face painting and a drawing competition.