Shoppers injured in stampede for cut-price TVs

A woman was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm after a stampede at a shopping centre over cut-price televisions.

There were also claims that a heavily pregnant woman was shoved and pensioners knocked to the ground by shoppers battling to get their hands on deals at the Asda store in Belfast.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service confirmed they were called to the Westwood Centre at about 8.30am and took a woman with an arm injury to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Chaotic scenes erupted at a number of other Asda outlets across the region. Hundreds of customers, who had queued from the early hours, became irate when they were told the limited number of televisions and tablet computers had sold out within minutes.

One woman who was caught up in the mayhem in west Belfast said: “It was just a free-for-all. It was frightening. People were getting trampled... Two of my friends were injured.”

The woman claimed one friend was kicked in the stomach by a man who tried to grab a TV out of her hand. “The other one, who is disabled, was actually kicked to the ground and trampled on and now has a broken arm and is waiting to hear if she is going to need surgery next week,” the witness said.

TVs were reduced from £179 (€215) to £99 as part of Asda’s ‘Black Friday’ offers advertised throughout Britain.

People formed queues from about 1am for the deals, which started at 8am.

In the Westwood outlet there were just 24 of the 32-inch television sets onsale at the reduced prices.

A customer said tensions at the Asda Living shop in the Citygate Shopping Centre in north Belfast almost spilled over into violence.

He said staff were verbally abused by outraged customers who were told the shop had not received any of the discounted items.

An Asda spokeswoman said: “We planned for high demand and the half a million Black Friday products on offer to our customers have been selling quickly.

“Throughout the event, the safety of our customers is of vital importance andto ensure our stores can cope with the extra footfall we have full security teams... and extra colleagues to help assist customers.”


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