COPS battled to stop a RIOT last night at the opening of an IKEA furniture store.

Dozens of officers were backed up by fire engines and ambulances as tempers raged in Edmonton, North London. One woman lost consciousness and many more were injured.

Thousands turned up to grab special offers, like a sofa for £45.

As the Swedish-owned store flung open its doors at midnight the crowd surged in. Terrified staff had to bolt the doors again after just half an hour. Customers, many who had queued for 13 hours, were furious at missing the giveaway. Some tried to smash doors open.

Others tried in vain to escape the crush. Those inside battled over furniture.

Kirk Rutter, 33, from Dagenham, Essex, said: "It was a stampede. They were like animals. I saw women punching women and men threatening children."

In the panic many abandoned their cars on the A406 to get to the store. A police spokesman said: "The numbers who turned up far exceeded expectations.",,2-2005062468,00.html