Bargain hunters were muscled out of the way at an annual charity shop sale by second-hand dealers desperate to get their hands on cut-price items.
Shoppers queued for up to two hours outside Shelter Scotland’s Stockbridge shop in Edinburgh yesterday morning.
The store, which has become famous for its January sales, carried an inventory of Vivienne Westwood jackets, Gucci scarves and Burberry coats at massively reduced prices.
But those hoping to get their hands on designer items for themselves had to compete with aggressive dealers who were also keen to bag the bargains.
Rival bargain hunters could be seen pushing and scrambling past each other to try to be the first through the doors, which opened at 10am.
Within ten minutes, the most hotly anticipated items were in the hands of the dealers, who had a sharp eye for vintage and designer goods. Those waiting in the queue for the tills had their arms so laden with clothes, luggage and paintings that it was almost impossible to squeeze past to get to the back of the shop.
None of the dealers agreed to discuss their purchases, but one local shopper made clear her displeasure.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “You get people coming to charity shops to see what there is, but there are dealers pushing and shoving you out the way.
“One of them almost snatched something out of my hands. It’s ridiculous.
“In the future I would prefer to send items to auction so that dealers can’t just buy it from a charity shop and then make their own money off it.”
Despite the scramble, some people managed to bag several bargains.
Brett Couper, 20, from Stockbridge, said: “I never expected it to be this busy — there was definitely desperation in the air. You had to push your way in. I managed to get some Gucci ties for just £8 each, and a Burberry bag for £20, which is much cheaper than the normal retail price.”
Paddy McNamara, 67, a retired civil servant from Edinburgh, bought a Lego Star Wars kit for his grandson and saved £35.
He said: “My grandson is into Lego Star Wars so I got something which was £2. I just looked it up on Amazon and it’s normally £37. He’ll be delighted.
“I go to charity shops a lot — I like the idea of recycling things. I spent a whole tenner in total but people were fighting over things and some people were getting quite upset.”
Peter Jew, manager of the popular store, said: “It’s been as busy as ever. There is pandemonium when the doors open, there always is. There was a frenzy of supporters and dealers who came to see what we had to offer.
“We make the whole experience quite theatrical, with dramatic music playing throughout the shop and releasing a curtain to unveil our best items.”
Some of the most noteworthy items up for grabs included a Paul Smith cashmere jacket on sale for £35 [usually retailing for about £500], a Burberry coat at £60 [usually retailing at £500] and a Zenith 9ct gold watch for £300, as opposed to a usual price of £575.