Uncontrollable shoppers fighting to get their ‘Black Friday’ bargains forced police to be called to seven Tesco stores across Greater Manchester last night.
Fights broke out in Stretford and Hattersley Tesco stores, which were closed after violence erupted between customers.
One man was arrested for allegedly threatening a staff member in Salford.
In the ensuing melee, a woman suffered minor injuries after being hit by a falling television in Stretford and had to be treated by ambulance staff.
Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Sir Peter Fahy said: “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.”
In recent years, it has become the trend for major retailers to open early and offer promotional sales on the last Friday of November to kick off the Christmas shopping season.
Officers were forced to close stores on Ashton Road West, Wigan and Walkden around midnight due to the sheer volume of people trying to enter the store.
Shortly after 12.05am, police called to Tesco Extra on Stockport Road, Hattersley, following reports of fighting in store.
Approximately 300 people were present in store and staff were advised to close. One man was arrested for in relation to a public order offence.
The Tesco Extra in Stretford was closed after fights broke out between shoppers trying to get their hands on sale stock. A woman suffered minor injuries after being hit by a falling television and an ambulance was called. The store was closed at 12.36am, just over half an hour after the sales event started.
Shortly after 1.05am, police were called to Tesco on Woodrow Way, Salford. One man was arrested on suspicion of assault after his conduct in store was challenged by staff. He threatened to ‘smash’ a staff member’s face in.
Chief Inspector Fahy called for major stores to be more vigilant on Black Friday in the future.
“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,” he said.
“We just ask these stores to work with us to reduce the demands on policing and reduce the risks of disorder and crime.”