BARGAIN hunting at the post-Christmas sales is so serious police issued a warning for shoppers to be vigilant about their security.

NSW Police delivered the message yesterday as part of the Play Safe, Stay Safe campaign designed to protect consumers against theft and fraud.

Traditionally the December 27 sale day is the largest single trading day of the year with most retailers offering post-Christmas reductions.

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Customers are set to queue for hours before the shops are scheduled to open at 9am today and the rush for bargains often causes chaos.

‘‘We support the message being sent by police and we have increased security at this time of year to support our customers and retailers from those situations,’’ Westfield Kotara centre manager Ryan Burns said.

‘‘We were quite busy prior to Christmas but the 27th is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year.’’

Charlestown Square centre manager Dwight Hodgetts said customer feedback had been predominantly positive in regard to safety before Christmas.

Mr Hodgetts said an increase in security and a management plan to control car park rage had created a safer shopping experience.

‘‘We’ve been very conscious of the traffic flow in and out of the centre which makes life a bit easier for everyone,’’ Mr Hodgetts said.

East Maitland’s Green Hills shopping centre was another expecting large crowds in the holiday rush after a double cut to interest rates leading into the festive season.

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate from 4.75per cent to 4.25per cent when it reduced it by 25 basis points in November and again in December.

‘‘It has certainly been a challenging year for the retail sector across the board,’’ Mr Hodgetts said.

‘‘From the GPT point of view the company has achieved its expectations in its first year since the major development was completed and we’re looking forward to 2012.’’