A butcher has beefed up security at his shop to enforce a one-in one-out policy amid the coronavirus crisis - by hiring a bouncer, writes Joe Pagnelli.

Meat merchant Matthew Mitchell, 42, was forced to take radical measures after customers began barging into his butcher shop fearing there would be no meat left.

He said the frantic scenes escalated to the point where some resorted to pushing and shoving their way into family-owned Mitchell and Son butchers due to Covid-19 panic.

He made the decision last Wednesday after ringing his good mate Colin Appleby, who is a musician by trade, and hired him to man the doors as a newly appointed bouncer.

They have placed a sign outside the butcher which states: "Shop Rules: One in, one out. No pushing in. We don't tolerate rudeness. Remember, we get rid of bodies for a living!"

The moonlighting bouncer will only let one person in at a time and only after he gives them a squeeze of hand sanitiser.

Butcher Matthew, from Blackpool, Lancs., said: "It's been crazy busy in the last week or so due to Coronavirus.

"People are afraid they won't get their meat so we've been as busy as ever - I've never seen anything like it.

"We had people barging in and we're a family butcher who've been around 30-odd years, that's not the sort of thing we want.

"Generations of families have come here and they don't just expect meat, they come in for a laugh.

"But the mood was really downbeat with everyone trying to get in. After some people resorted to pushing and shoving I decided we had to make a change.

"I got the great idea to get him outside as a bouncer to make sure everyone stays in line to make sure the customers and my staff are all safe.

"My mate Colin is a musician and all of his gigs got cancelled so he needed a job and I needed to hire someone.

"I thought he's big and bald, and has got black gloves as well so he's perfect.

"He will spray a little hand sanitiser on their hands and that way we can ensure everyone's still getting what they need but safely.

"People seem to love it, I think it puts people at ease to know we're doing everything we can to make sure it's a safe environment."

The shop owner said they had been extremely busy since the crisis broke out and were forced to close early at 11.30am on Saturday after selling out all of their stock.

He said customers had gotten anxious with many fearing they would not have any food during government imposed lock downs to curb Covid-19.

The married dad-of-one added: "I think it's important that we do take this seriously because a lot of people are at risk - my wife has breathing difficulties and my mum is isolated.

"We are the front line with the public as a butcher and we have a responsibility to us and our customers.

"But everyone needs to work together and then we'll get through it."

Bouncer Colin has known Matthew for over 10 years and his band, Electrikk Dreams, even played at his wedding.

But due to the coronavirus outbreak all of his upcoming gigs were cancelled and he was left looking for a new job.

He's had no experience as a bouncer before but said these were "bizarre times" with "bizarre solutions".

The 52-year-old drummer said: "It's strange if you'd told me I'd be doing this two weeks ago I'd be having an absolute laugh but here I am.

"We're in truly strange times and more than ever we need to take care of one another.

"Most of the people who come in see the sign and see me and are extremely respectful, but you always have one of two people who haven't adhered by our rules.

"I just tell them they can't get past me if they don't stay in line, keep a safe distance, and get some hand sanitiser.

"It's all about respect in the end.

"You adapt to your situation so I can be a hard face but if everyone's being respectful then there's nothing to be afraid of."

He added: "My family think it's a bit strange but it's a bizarre crisis, and we need bizarre solutions."

The butcher will remain open until for the time being - but in unprecedented times owner Matthew says they will take it day-by-day to ensure everyone is being safe.