SHOPPERS jammed Sainsbury's stores throughout the conurbation as the supermarket chain launched its famous half-price pre-Christmas toy sale.

Queues at stores started to appear well before opening times and car-parks filled up as bargain hunters arrived to take advantage of the offers.

The chain's Talbot Heath branch in Alder Park was no different.

One worker said: "They were here really early and after a while were having to queue up to get in the car-park."

The store was still busy at 11am, with shoppers crawling round the car-park, trying to bag a space while the lanes were clogged with laden trollies pushed by those who had already snapped up bargains.

Among the offers in-store were a Chad Valley Mighty Excavation machine, down from £50 to £25, a Barbie horse set for £25, another Barbie set down from £120 to £60.

The V-Tech toys were also proving popular and so was Lego - one shopper had piled their trolley entirely with this bargain.

Tom Davies had popped into the store to try and nab some bargains for his three-year-old son. "It's a great opportunity to save some money for Christmas," he said.

Lesley Bell, of Bournemouth, was buying for her grandchildren. "What I like is that they've got toys for every age group which really helps me as I've got three to buy for," she said.

Mums Sadie and Elizabeth had come specially to buy from the sale, including for Elizabeth's daughter, baby Adaline.

"It looks busy now but I think it was even more manic last year," said Sadie.

Both women remember cars parking on the petrol station forecourt and in other places as shoppers scrambled for places.

"I think it is good value but it would be easy to go mad," said Elizabeth.

Another shopper, who didn't want to give her name, said: "I've got three to buy for and it will save me around £300," she said. "I do it every year and it really does help."

Unusually, the sale is only in-store and not online.

However, it was advertised on the Martin Lewis MoneySavingExpert site which said: "You'll need to go quick if you're interested, as stock is limited and in previous sales popular toys have been snapped up fast."

However, the Echo saw staff replenishing the toy stocks which had been placed at the front of the store.