Three people have been arrested and police called to a number of supermarkets across the UK to control the chaos as shoppers searched for ‘Black Friday’ discounts.
Police were called to locations including London, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Manchester to control the crowds.
At Tescos stores around Manchester, a 42-year old man was arrested on suspicion of assault shortly after midnight, a second man was arrested for a public disorder offence after fights broke out over the discounted items, and a third man was arrested shortly after 01:00 GMT after he threatened to “smash” a staff member’s face in.
Elsewhere, police were brought in to clear a store after 200 shoppers refused to leave when they were told all stocks had gone, and a woman suffered minor injuries after a television fell from the shelves on top of her as the crowds swelled.
Police complained that the stores should have better prepared for the large crowds that have continued to grow each year, since the US tradition came over to the UK about a decade ago.
Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy lamented on Twitter:
“Very disappointing that major stores did not learn lessons from last year – our officers have enough to do already”
In a statement, Fahy continued:
“The events of last night were totally predictable and I am disappointed that stores did not have sufficient security staff on duty.
“This created situations where we had to deal with crushing, disorder and disputes between customers.
“It does not help that this was in the early hours when police resources are already stretched.
“Across Greater Manchester large supermarkets already make significant demands on policing through calls to shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and thefts of fuel from their petrol stations – much of which is preventable.
“We just ask these stores to work with us to reduce the demands on policing and reduce the risks of disorder and crime.”