HARRY Potter fans were up early on Saturday to rush to the shops to snap up copies of the latest book chronicling the young wizard's adventures.

At WH Smith in the Wellington Centre, Aldershot, 600 customers ordered Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and others arrived early before opening.

Twelve-year-old Stuart Tyler said he could not wait to return to the suspense of J K Rowling's magical world of Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hogwarts.

"I've been waiting for this," he said. "From the title and cover I think it's going to be something big.

"Harry's wand was made from phoenix feathers so it's got something to do with this, and his parents appear on the cover."

Many readers were keen to know the plot following speculation that one of the leading characters is killed off.

Di Baker, of Wellington Travel, said she had to read it before her grandchildren ruined it by telling her what happens!

"I grew up with Enid Blyton. This is the first thing to transcend the generations, bringing excitement with old-fashioned values.

"It's fresh because there's no violence or swearing but it really captures the imagination.

I would have loved to have played quidditch!"

Mother of three Jackie Sleet bought three copies.

"One's for me, one is for a neighbour and one for my sister. My kids love it. When I get home there's going to be a fight over it."

Competition between shops was also keen as they tried to undercut each other from the original price of £16.99.

County Book Shops was selling the book at £9.99.

Manager Denise Clark said trade was roaring.

"We've done about £400 in an hour. We had 100 copies, of which 40 were ordered. I'm sure we'll be sold out by midday."