AN IT failure has left Mole Valley Farmers paralysed, with almost all its computer systems going offline.

The reason for the outage is unclear, but the agricultural supplier has been left with no viable payment systems and many stores were forced to close on Sunday.

They are currently only able to trade on ‘a limited basis’, but are able to ‘process orders for emergency farm sales which can be booked to credit accounts.’

The technical issues have led to a bizarre procedure for shopping at the store.

One customer, who asked not to be named, described the process: ‘A staff member shadowed me all around the store. They had to write down the barcode of every item I wanted then took me back to the tills. They then wrote down the barcode again and added up my purchases on a handheld calculator. They couldn’t accept a cheque and I had to pay cash.’

She added: ‘The staff, though, were absolutely brilliant and patient. It must be very difficult working in such circumstances. Some customers were turning away when they saw the queues.’

Jo Warmsley, speaking on behalf of Mole Valley, said:

‘This is an ongoing IT incident and our team is working around the clock to get everything back online.

‘We cannot confirm exactly what has happened, but the malfunction began on Sunday morning and continues to affect us now.

‘We apologise that we cannot offer our full service but we are doing the best that we can. Emergency sales booked to credit accounts will continue and this will not affect the supply of feed and essential agricultural products.

‘Over the next few days, we anticipate things getting back to normal, bit by bit.’