A convicted armed robber has undergone a £20,000 sex change op and will finish his sentence in a women's prison, it was reported today.

David Cross, 39 - now known as Kelly Denise - was jailed for 17 years in 1992 for a post office raid in Polegate in which a postmaster and his baby son were injured.

Cross, serving his time at Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight, has undergone the NHS operation at the expense of the taxpayer, according to The Sun.

An officer at the all-male prison told the newspaper: "I can imagine that victims of crime will think the world has gone stark, staring mad.

"Cross almost killed a father and his baby son. There is no way taxpayers should stump up £20,000 for this."

The transsexual gunman was allegedly given his own double cell at the prison where he underwent electrolysis sessions to remove chest and leg hair.

He is reported to be at an unidentified secure health centre awaiting a transfer to a female prison.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: "We cannot talk about specific cases. We can confirm that prisoners requesting treatment to change their sex would be treated in line with NHS guidelines.

"The Prison Service would take advice from the NHS about the timing and administration of treatment and the prisoner would be treated the same as any other NHS patient.

"The cost would not be borne by the Prison Service."

The decision to move Cross to a women's prison was today greeted with outrage and disbelief by victims' groups.

The Victims of Crime Trust said: "The country should hang its head in shame."

Spokesman Norman Brennan said: "I absolutely despair at the way the criminal justice system is heading in this country.

"Groups such as ours have to beg for few hundred pounds to give victims of serious crime counselling, yet at the drop of a hat we find that tens of thousands of pounds are being given to make the life of a criminal a little more comfortable.

"It really goes to show how much we care for the criminals and how little for the victims."