Humans and robots help Dartford Amazon warehouse get ready for Black Friday

There are over 8km of conveyor belts at the warehouse in Dartford Credit: ITV Meridian

Black Friday may only come round once a year, but staff - and robots - at Dartford's Amazon warehouse have been preparing for this day for months.

Across four floors, 2 million square feet and a building footprint equivalent to six and a football pitches, over 2000 permanent employees at the warehouse are getting ready to play their part in one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Thousands of robots are on hand to assist the humans. Each robot weighs 136kg and can lift 668kg (the equivalent of a cow, 200 cats or a grizzly bear). They're pretty rapid around the warehouse too, moving at a brisk walking pace.

On a normal day, hundreds of thousands of orders are processed, but in the run-up to Black Friday, and with Christmas on the horizon, things are more hectic still.

Hundreds of thousands of orders are processed daily, and Black Friday is even busier than usual

The centre's general manager Priyanka Bernard said: "For ten months of the year, we will plan for these two months. All of us do packing and picking so that every... order reaches the customer on time."

Alexandra Verdes is one of the (human) employees at Dartford who are making sure that people across the UK get their Black Friday bargains, as the orders make their way along 8km of conveyor belts. But there are some potential pitfalls with working in such a huge warehouse.

She said: "There are so many items here, so you have to pay attention. Some of the items are really small. They have different barcodes, so you have to be careful."

Amazon has been criticised over pay and conditions in the past. The general manager at Dartford said she is proud of competitive pay for staff, who also have the advantage of a number of benefits from discounts to funded training programs.

Once Black Friday is out of the way, there is the small matter of the run-up to Christmas to contend with.

Either way, if you're lucky enough to be getting a gift through the post over the next few months, there's a good chance that it started its journey in Dartford.