Police were called to an Essex branch of Lidl today after a mass brawl broke out that was sparked by the manager announcing that all £1.50 bottles of special offer prosecco had sold out within five minutes of opening.

According to a statement that has been released by a police spokesperson, five arrests were made and seventeen people were taken to hospital with injuries – three of them are in a critical condition.

A witness told Southend News Network that she noticed that the atmosphere was ‘aggy’ as soon as she arrived to queue up at around 5.30am on Saturday morning.

She said: ‘I had already been tipped off in advance that stock was going to be limited, and so I made sure to get to their Fairfax Drive branch nice and early.’

‘To my amazement, there were already 45 people in line ahead of me – it turns out some of them had been camping since lunchtime on Thursday.’

‘When the store opened at 8am, the manager came out to address the crowd, and I reckon there must have been around 600 people by this time.’

‘He said that the store would only have one pallet available, and also that each customer would be limited to one box of six bottles.’

‘The news didn’t go down too well, and I heard someone behind me shout ‘you’re avin a fuckin bubble mate.’

‘Everyone then started stampeding forward and the whole queue disintegrated into a giant fist fight to get into the store first.’

‘There was a massive bottleneck at the front door and by the time I regained consciousness I noticed that all of the boxes had been picked up the guy who owns the local off licence and his 36 grown-up children.’

An employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, told our Chief Reporter that the scenes were like ‘something from The Walking Dead where the zombies have been replaced with tracksuit-clad White Lightning enthusiasts.’

He said: ‘As soon as I saw a five-year-old child try and garrotte a young mum with a rolled-up 5p bag, I knew that it was time to call 999.’

‘It was all pretty funny actually. I recorded the whole thing with the slow motion camera on my iPhone and will put it online later with the music from Platoon in the background – should go down a treat.’

Essex Police confirmed that a number of arrests were made from a variety of offences including breach of the peace, violent disorder and penetration with a part-baked baguette.