Shoppers across Stoke-on-Trent are failing to heed warnings not to panic buy as huge queues have formed outside supermarkets.
Stores across North Staffordshire and the rest of the country have seen unprecedented demand since the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
It has led to the big chains having to ration high-demand items such as toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, soap and pasta.
There have even been reports of people pushing two trolleys around shops.
It comes as a top Cabinet Minister warned panic-buying shoppers to ‘be considerate to others’ amid the coronavirus crisis today.
However, despite reassurances there is no shortage of stock families are continuing to bulk buy causing shortages.
One parent snapped a photo of a 84-deep queue outside Aldi in Meir Park earlier today as she waited to buy a pack of butter.
Other images on social media show shoppers arriving at Asda at 5.30am ready for opening at 6am.
A concerned pensioner said: “It’s madness, panic and selfishness at the shops again today.
“Sainsbury’s in Newcastle set aside 7am to 8am for the over-70s and disabled.
“I got there at 6.55am and there was a queue to get on car park!
“A very well-intentioned idea but attracting people in hordes may not be the best plan.
“I managed to get some of what I need after visiting three other shops.
“The usual shopping lulls, when I usually get my groceries, just aren’t happening but it’s strange what is disappearing and what is left.
“I hope the hoarders are pleased with themselves.”
A worried mum said: This is getting out of hand. In fact it got out of hand before now. Stop panicking!
“There’s people out there like me who have tried for numerous days to do their usual weekly or fortnightly shop and managed to get only a few bits.
“Shops will remain open if there is a lockdown.
“Spain is only letting one person in their shops at a time. It’s one in and one out.
“My dad has recently moved to Spain and has been on lockdown since Friday. There is none of this panicking over there. They are being sensible and obeying by the lockdown rules.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice has moved to quell scenes of desperate customers stripping shelves bare as they stock up for self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Insisting the UK has enough food to go around, he told MPs firms and officials were ‘working around the clock’ to ensure food was available.
He added: “We have significant resilience in our food supply chain in that food manufacturers are used to coping with increases in demand, not least every year during Christmas.
“There isn’t a shortage of food. The challenge we have had is getting food to shelves in time when people have been purchasing more.
“We do need everybody during this situation to be considerate to others.”
Meetings were being held with food industry chiefs, council officials as charities to ensure “those who have to stay at home have continued access to food”, Mr Eustice added.
He told the Commons supermarket competition rules could be relaxed to make sure products make it to stores.
Labour MP Chi Onwurah said: “We have all of us found the images of empty supermarket shelves disturbing.
“But for those who are vulnerable – aged, unwell, isolated or dependent on foodbanks, it’s causing real fear as to where the next meal is coming from.”
Warning of a “real family emergency”, Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard added: “People are worried about food and how they will feed their family, especially if they are self-isolating or have had their income slashed, on statutory sick pay or losing their job.”
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