Scenes of stockpiling in Coventry and Warwickshire have been condemned as “utterly disgraceful” – as Tesco becomes the latest retailer to start restricting products.
The move came after shoppers began to descend on stores to stock up on essentials, including at the grocer’s superstore on the Emscote Road in Warwick.
Some shelves stocking toilet rolls and long-life food had been stripped back to the last few items by Thursday night.
Earlier in the day, similar scenes played out at Morrisons on the Alvis Retail Park in Coventry.
Toilet roll was also in strong demand at ASDA in Leamington Spa yesterday (September 25).
Tesco has now followed Morrisons by introducing rationing with a three-item limit on certain products, including flour, pasta and toilet roll.
Britain’s biggest grocer is also limiting some products online, such as rice.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We have good availability, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal.
“To ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need, we have introduced bulk-buy limits on a small number of products.”
Morrisons became the first major grocer to act pre-emptively this week with a three-item limit on some items, including toilet roll.
Mark Hall, waste management specialist at BusinessWaste.co.uk, which operates in Coventry and nationally, said: “The second wave of panic buying that is occurring is utterly disgraceful. During the first wave we saw tons of perishable goods being recklessly stockpiled to only go to landfill in the weeks after.
“There is no shortage of food as we learned from experience and we are only putting the pressure back on supermarket supply chains for no reason. We have to stop and think about the elderly and those who can only access their local shops for their weekly shop and stop panic buying.”
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Gaps have started appearing on shelves despite repeated calls that there is no need to begin panic buying.
Messages from major retailers were joined by TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, who sent a “plea from the heart” for people not to stockpile in an appeal on her Wednesday morning ITV1 show.
Fears of a second wave of panic buying come as the Government introduces new restrictions aimed at curbing a rising number of Covid-19 infections that No10’s scientific advisers say is doubling every seven days.
Pubs, restaurants and bars now have to close at 10pm, with some academics saying even tighter curbs may have to follow in coming weeks in order to suppress the rising number of cases.