• Lorne Spicer, presenter of BBC’s Car Booty, Cash in the Attic and Bootsale Challenge, sets the scene as boot sales prepare to re-open.

CAR boot sales are back, giving everyone the chance to finally get rid of their cleared out clutter and turn it into cash.

The boot sales usually kick off around Easter and are always packed with buyers and sellers.

Then came Covid-19 and lockdown and the season did not even start, but following the latest easing of restrictions, boot sales are preparing to re-open.

Stevenson’s car boot sale in Basildon will open today as will the Sadlers Farm roundabout boot sale in Benfleet.

Peter Stevenson, 70, has been running the Basildon boot sale on the site where the Dogs Trust is now based on the A127 for more than 30 years.

He said: “We have plenty of land here so we can put in measures for social distancing to ensure our customers and staff are safe.

“There will be plenty of space between rows and around each stall to ensure the 2m rule can be adhered to and this will be helped by a one way system.

“The toilets will be cleaned rigorously and have running cold water and there will be hand sanitiser on the gates for entry and exit.

“We are really looking forward to getting the boot sale off the ground again and seeing our regular buyers and sellers but we just ask everyone to be patient under the new ways of working.”

He said boot sales are going to look and feel very different this year due to safety measures – but the spirit remains the same.

Peter added: “After the long lockdown and the council tips being closed everyone has been using the time to have a clear out and now at last they can finally come out and sell it.”

The coronavirus crisis has left families facing uncertainty about their finances and many have been furloughed and some have lost their jobs.

Peter said: “Easyjet has just laid off thousands and the forecast is for a full-blown recession so stalling out at a boot sale makes a lot of difference to the money in people’s pockets.

“I’ve seen many people struggle financially in the last two recessions and the boot sale has enabled them to make some extra cash for their kiddies’ birthdays or just to get through to the end of the week.”

Boot sales will not look quite the same in this new era of social distancing. The rushing around for the dealers keen to grab a bargain will have to be a more leisurely stroll.

People will have to respect each other’s space rather than buyers lined up elbow to elbow picking through items.

The hustle and bustle will no doubt be more muted but the opportunity to make some money or find a hidden treasure will be the same. It means thousands of items that would otherwise be dumped in landfill will get to be recycled, reused or repurposed.

For Essex, the re-opening of boot sales marks a step nearer a return to normal life.

Car Boot Sales that are going ahead:

Saturday June 6:

Stevenson’s Farm – off the A127 Basildon roundabout Wickford at the Dog’s Trust site  SS14 3JH 01268 285 145 Opens at 6am with hanging rails and tables available for hire Facebook: Stevenson’s car boot. Van pitches £10 cars £8 with free entry and free parking for the public.

Sadlers Sadlers Farm Roundabout at Bowers Gifford on the A13 SS13 2HD. Tel: 07848 004500 Opens at 6am. Van pitches £15 cars £12 with entry 50p per person

Sunday June 7:

Boreham – adjacent to the A12 Boreham turnoff Tel 07779 948 946 Van pitches Cars and entry £3 before 7am Van pitches £15-£20 depending on size of vehicle and £20 cars £12

Sadlers – Sadlers Farm Roundabout at Bowers Gifford on the A13 SS13 2HD. Tel: 07848 004500

Car Boot sales that expect to open in the next few weeks

Dunton – off the A127 Dunton Road CM12 912 TEL: 01277 624979 Currently undertaking a Covid-19 risk assessment to decide when to open

Barleylands – Barleylands Road, Billericay CM11 2UD tel 07478 350176

Leigh – Belton Way,  SS9 2ET Tel; 07956 826 730

Rettendon – White House Farm, Main Road, Rettendon. CM3 8DL tel: 01245 400 293