POLICE are to be drafted in to control the crowds of bargain hungry shoppers expected to flock to the opening of a new discount store in Halesowen.

Shoppers are expected to start queueing from 5am as 99p Stores opens a new outlet in the Cornbow Shopping Centre at 59/61 Queensway – between Murray’s Chemist and the ASDA entrance next Friday (September 25).

Bosses said they have requested a 'friendly police presence' for 'crowd control' purposes as shoppers desperate to get hold of bargains including 17-piece tea sets and freeview boxes turn up.

They said they expect queues to start forming from from 5am 'judged on similar such openings around the UK.'

Charity fundraiser Irene Layton, chairperson of the Halesowen Branch of the Mary Stevens Hospice fundraising group, will do the honours and cut the ribbon at 9am.

Before that the 77-year-old from Halesowen, who received an MBE in 2006 for her voluntary work, will complete a 99-second trolley dash with items going to her charity.

The 99p Stores unit in Halesowen, which has created 30 full and part-time jobs, will be the 107th store the Daventry-based chain has across the UK.

While other businesses fold pound stores have been enjoying a thriving market as shoppers look to cut costs in the credit crunch.

99p Stores employs more than 1,800 people throughout the UK and is opening new stores at a rate of two a week.