Police were forced to intervene at a major supermarket when shoppers' disregard for Covid-19 safety regulations got out of control, it can be revealed.
Officers at the Tesco store in Ballymena spoke to people who weren't wearing masks, as well as others shopping in groups.
There were also reports of shoppers removing their face coverings after entering the premises, having worn them to get past security at the door.
One local shopper, who was there but didn't want to be named, said she couldn't believe what was happening.
"There was no queue to get in so I thought it would be safe enough," said the pensioner. I was wrong. When I went inside it was a massive free-for-all. People were virtually on top of each other down the aisles. It was as if they'd been told the shops were closing forever."
The retired civil servant added: "I was bending down to get something off one of the lower shelves when a woman reached out to get something and nearly pushed me over in the process."
The Tesco customer also said entire families were "clearly out shopping together".
A PSNI spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph there was local engagement with businesses and members of the public in Ballymena and other areas over the weekend.
"We have had hundreds of patrols across Northern Ireland over the past few weeks, and they have included dropping in and speaking to business owners, retailers and members of the public, " the spokesperson said.
"We will continue to support retailers by our presence and the patrols we undertake, encouraging people to follow the health protection regulations and wear a face covering in shops, unless they have a medical reason for not doing so."
In mid December, there was customer bedlam in a Primark store in Newtownabbey shortly after a Stormont-imposed, two-week 'circuit breaker' ended.
It was the legacy of a mile-long queue that had gathered outside the popular Abbey Centre outlet early on a Saturday morning.
The commotion led to warnings that such behaviour would result in a huge spike in Covid-19 cases.
Northern Ireland's major supermarkets have visibly upped their game when it comes to marshalling shoppers, especially at entrances.
A Tesco spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph that since the start of the pandemic they have been ensuring that all shopping takes place in a safe environment.
"To protect our customers and colleagues, we won't let anyone into our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with Government guidance," they said.
"We are also asking our customers to shop alone, unless they are a carer or with children.
"To support our colleagues we will have additional security in stores to help manage this."