The first armoured, automatic 24-hour shop has arrived in the UK from Italian manufacturer Magex.

There are 500 of the vending machines in operation on petrol stations in Italy but the units are now being distributed in the UK by St Helens-based Eshop.

Maurizio Costantini, managing director of Eshop, said: "We believe that as in Europe the British public is ready for self-service shopping. It offers a quick, always-open alternative way to shop; you get privacy and no waiting in queues."

The vending machine can stock up to 64 different product ranges with up to 20 items per range, and can combine ambient, refrigerated and frozen units.

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