Black Friday UK: The shops hit by chaos and violence as shopping frenzy sweeps country

Shops across England, Scotland and Wales have been affected

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The Independent Online

Black Friday has caused chaos across the UK as desperate bargain hunters stormed supermarkets and started fights in the early hours of this morning.

At least three people were arrested in the mayhem and several people were injured, including one woman hit by a falling television.

  • In London, officers were called to three Tesco stores and an Asda amid fears of confrontations in heated queues but after attending the 24-hour supermarkets in Edmonton, Willesden, Surrey Quays and Edgware, a spokesperson said no one had been injured or arrested.

  • Images posted online showed chaotic scenes in Edmonton, with witnesses describing “mayhem” as discounted coffee machines went on sale, while footage from an Asda in Wembley showed people fighting over televisions.

  • Seven Tesco stores in the Greater Manchester area saw disorder. Several hundred people reportedly tried to storm the Wigan branch, while more than 500 shoppers descended in Ashton Road West.

  • The Tesco in Ellesmere Shopping Centre in Walkden had to be closed down because of overcrowding and the Tesco Extra in Stretford was shut just half an hour after opening its doors after fights broke out between shoppers and a woman was injured by a falling television.

  • A 42-year-old man was arrested shortly after midnight at the Tesco Burnage superstore on suspicion of assault, while another man was arrested after reports of brawls in a 300-strong crowd at the branch in Hattersley. A third man was arrested shortly after 1am at a Tesco store on Woodrow Way, Salford, after he threatened to “smash” a staff member’s face in.

  • In Cardiff, huge crowds turned up to a Tesco branch and police were called over “customer conduct”.

  • Tesco stores at Silverburn in Glasgow and in Dundee were also temporarily closed to stop shoppers clashing over discounted goods.

  • Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, criticised shops for failing to provide enough security, saying the mayhem should have been expected. “The events of last night were totally predictable and I am disappointed that stores did not have sufficient security staff on duty,” he added.

  • Following the chaos, a spokesperson for Tesco insisted they "work closely" with police and take guidance on security measures in stores, adding: "We will work with them following this event to make any improvements for next year."

  • The websites of several major retailers including Tesco Direct, Game and Topshop went down with the huge surge in demand. Argos was one of those limiting visitors, while Curry’s had a queue of at least half an hour to get on its site.

British retailers are increasingly capitalising on the American tradition of Black Friday, which is historically the big sales day that follows the Thanksgiving holiday.

It was imported over by Amazon four years ago after internet shoppers complained that US customers got better deals.