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GTA V on sale at midnight tonight, but has it shipped early?

Grand Theft Auto V is released at midnight -- find out here where you can buy a copy tonight. But have some lucky punters already got theirs?

Are you ready to rampage? Grand Theft Auto V is released at midnight tonight, after five years in development and at least one major delay -- but some lucky punters seem to have already got their hands on it after Amazon UK apparently shipped it early.

GTA-maker Rockstar is reportedly "investigating" what went wrong at the online super-retailer after pictures of the boxed video game appeared on Twitter. It's unclear how many budding virtual hoodlums have received a copy, or even if they're genuine reports. Similar tales have spread across Europe, with retailers in France and Spain also rumoured to have broken the release date.

Amazon, meanwhile, has sold out of the mayhem simulator, with a note on its Xbox 360 page saying, "Please note -- due to high demand, orders placed for Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360) from September 13 will be shipped as soon as we receive inventory." The same note appears on the PS3 page, although with the later date of 16 September.

If you want to get your larcenous little hands on a copy at midnight, Rockstar has a helpful store finder. Much hoopla will commence at 12am at the huge HMV on Oxford Street in London, but there are 106 other shops (including some big Tesco's) around the country that will happily flog you a copy tonight.

The first full GTA game in five years, the latest instalment is a swansong for the current generation of consoles before the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 go on sale later this year -- and you have to buy GTA V all over again. To get you back up to speed, my charming colleague Danny O'Dwyer over at our sister site GameSpot has done a bang-up history of the series.

Are you heading out to a midnight event tonight? Or desperately hoping the postman comes early tomorrow morning? Have you managed to get your hands on a copy early? Spin your tales of criminality and excess in the comments below, or over on our strictly above board Facebook page.