CHRISTMAS came early for bargain hunters when Black Friday created a shopping frenzy in Hartlepool.
Hundreds of eager shoppers descended on town shops and supermarkets to grab a host of heavily discounted goods.
Stores, including the major supermarkets, saw an early morning rush of bargain hunters keen to snap up heavily discounted electrical goods and toys.
The sales are expected to continue into the weekend and millions are expected to be spent online on Monday, which has been dubbed “Cyber Monday”.
The Mail joined bargain hunters at Asda in Marina Way yesterday morning where some shoppers had queued since 3am. By 8am more than 100 had joined the queue which snaked almost the full length of the store.
They were allowed inside at about 20 at a time to prevent chaotic scenes like those seen in other parts of the country.
Asda laid on extra staff to deal with the rush.
Store manager Mike McNamara said: “We have been planning for this for a number of weeks now.
“We learned a lot from the mistakes of last year and hopefully the customers feel it has gone a lot better.
“I’m pleased with the way it’s gone. We organised queue barriers and let customers in in a controlled manner.
“Televisions are the big buys as well as toys and computer games and consoles.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had as many of them as we would have liked to be able to meet customers’ needs.”
Tesco Extra, in Burn Road, opened at midnight and numerous stores in Middleton Grange also offered major discounts.
And it was not just in stores that experienced the Black Friday rush.
Home shoppers who tried to access Curry’s website were faced with hour-long waits just to get on the site.
Police attended Tesco Extra stores in Stockton and South Bank to make sure things did not get out of hand.
But they were not called to any shops in the Hartlepool area, Cleveland Police said.
Black Friday originated in America but has become increasingly popular in Britain over the last few years.
Busy time at Asda
FIRST in line at Asda was town mum of six, Nicola Topping, 34.
Nicola, who lives in Stranton, said: “I’ve been here since 3am. I’m hoping to get a PlayStation 4 and TV, anything I can.”
Also waiting to get inside was Graham Peacock, of Burbank Street. The 32-year-old security worker said: “I’ve been here since 4am. I was at Tesco last night, but it was a bit of a mad scrum and I didn’t get anything so I thought I would come here.” He left happy after snapping up one of the 40-inch screen plasma TVs on offer.
Another bargain hunter was taxi driver Michael Osborne.
The 35-year-old of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, spent around £200 on a new television, doll’s house and garden swing.
Michael, who has three children, said: “I’m over the moon. I think they should do it every so often, not just once a year.
“I came down at 5.30am and there were only a few people here. I’m glad I did because the queue got really big.”