Police called as Build-A-Bear offer causes ‘carnage’ at Belfast shop

Police were called to a Build-A-Bear store in Belfast to maintain order amid chaotic scenes as parents and children queued for a cut-price offer.

Staff were forced to close the store in the Victoria Square complex due to “safety concerns” as customers turned up en masse to avail themselves of the ‘pay your age’ deal.

The episode unfolded on what is otherwise a very quiet day on the commercial front in Belfast, as many shops close for the Twelfth of July Orange Order commemorations.

But queues stretched long outside the Build-A-Bear store in the morning as adults sought to pay the age of their children in Sterling for stuffed toys that usually retail for much more.

Shortly before lunch the police had to be called amid reports of arguments over queue jumping and claims of staff being physically accosted.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said they attended at around 12.40pm to “maintain order”.

A spokesman added: “No offences have been detected at this time.”

Elizabeth McGrogan, 37, brought her six year old daughter to the event. She said a holiday outing turned to “carnage”.

Ms McGrogan, who is 39 weeks pregnant, had been standing in the queue for three hours when she realised trouble had broken out near the shop door.

“It was mayhem,” she said.

A closed sign on the window of the Build-A-Bear store in Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

The Belfast woman said a senior staff member was in tears on the phone, with security guards arriving to restore calm, followed soon after by police officers.

“I was annoyed for the staff as they seemed to be very vulnerable and out on a limb with no backup,” she said.

She said her daughter spent the remainder of the day crying following the experience.

“What appeared to be a perfect planned family day for us has ended in carnage,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Build-A-Bear said: “The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. We are aware of the situation in Belfast and, in the interest of the safety of our employees and our guests, this store has been closed.”

Streams of parents and children continued to arrive at the store through the afternoon only to be disappointed upon finding it closed.

A sign on the window apologised for the inconvenience caused.

- Press Association


Related Articles

Latest: Man released on bail following arrest over attack on home of Gerry Adams

Simon Coveney and Arlene Foster visit Derry following violence

Tánaiste visits Derry in wake of violent incidents

Parents urged to keep children in amid disorder in Derry

More in this Section

Fianna Fáil falls to lowest level of support in two years, poll finds

Families of Berkeley balcony collapse victims gather to mark third anniversary

Tribute paid following death of former minister Martin O'Donoghue

Calls for investment into fire services nationwide


Today's Stories

Plea for safety upgrades at Blarney Castle after tourist injures himself

Slane shopkeeper still tots up with pen and paper

Men querying paternity ‘is an unfair weapon’

Irish pub owner comes to rescue of scammed inter-railers

Lifestyle

New father’s life ‘changed forever’ after he was run over by surgeon

More From The Irish Examiner