Coronavirus UK: Panic-buyers leave the vulnerable without food

Furious Britons are criticising selfish panic-buyers who are raiding shelves and leaving those most in need without food and essential supplies – while supermarkets are now hiring thousands of extra staff to help battle the soaring demand from shoppers.

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country reaches 3,269 with 144 deaths, and workers are confined to carrying out their duties from home, shops are still being stripped bare.

In an effort to battle panic-buying and a huge increase in demand as customers self-isolate, Lidl will recruit 2,500 workers on four-week contracts, and Aldi revealed a recruitment drive to hire 9,000 new workers, including 4,000 permanent jobs. 

Asda says it will hire more than 5,000 temporary employees laid off due to Covid-19, working with 20 national companies to bring staff from industries including food and travel at risk of losing their jobs. 

Customers had complained of facing three-week waits for grocery deliveries from supermarkets – with online stores not showing availability until as late as April 9 at some supermarkets.

The Prime Minister has urged the public to stop ‘mass buying’, saying that there is ‘no reason’ shops should be empty and asking Britons to ‘please be reasonable in your shopping and be considerate of others’. 

Marks and Spencer said it will reserve a ‘special hour’ for NHS and emergency workers along with vulnerable customers for the first hour of trading on specific days – and Tesco announced that from Sunday they would introduce a similar measure, allowing Health Service staff to select their shopping before checkouts open.   

Social media users have been heaping scorn on shoppers who are taking more than their fair share of precious groceries using the hashtag #stophoarding – calling on their countrymen to be considerate and take only what they need. 

Footage of distraught critical care nurse Dawn Bilbrough, who was unable to buy basic foods following a 48-hour shift, showed her urging shoppers to stop stripping supermarket shelves amid the coronavirus pandemic – in a post that gained such support it sparked the #doitfordawn hashtag where Britons are urged to be considerate of healthcare workers and those in need while shopping. 

Social media users are now criticising shoppers who are taking more than their fair share of precious groceries (pictured: A shopper in Asda buying baby formula)

Social media users are now criticising shoppers who are taking more than their fair share of precious groceries (pictured: A shopper in Asda buying baby formula)

Social media users are now criticising shoppers who are taking more than their fair share of precious groceries (pictured: A shopper in Asda buying baby formula) 

Chaotic scenes unfolded at Lidl in Neasden as shoppers sought to buy groceries amid growing fears over the coronavirus

Chaotic scenes unfolded at Lidl in Neasden as shoppers sought to buy groceries amid growing fears over the coronavirus

Chaotic scenes unfolded at Lidl in Neasden as shoppers sought to buy groceries amid growing fears over the coronavirus

Shoppers queue outside a Sainsbury's supermarket in Kenton before it opens at 7am

Shoppers queue outside a Sainsbury's supermarket in Kenton before it opens at 7am

Shoppers queue outside a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Kenton before it opens at 7am

Customers stock up on toilet roll at Costco as the Chancellor is to unveil an emergency package aimed at protecting workers' jobs and wages as they face hardship in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic

Customers stock up on toilet roll at Costco as the Chancellor is to unveil an emergency package aimed at protecting workers' jobs and wages as they face hardship in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic

Customers stock up on toilet roll at Costco as the Chancellor is to unveil an emergency package aimed at protecting workers’ jobs and wages as they face hardship in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic

Furious Britons are criticising selfish panic-buyers who are raiding supermarket shelves and leaving those most in need without food and essential supplies

Furious Britons are criticising selfish panic-buyers who are raiding supermarket shelves and leaving those most in need without food and essential supplies

Furious Britons are criticising selfish panic-buyers who are raiding supermarket shelves and leaving those most in need without food and essential supplies

Furious Britons are criticising selfish panic-buyers who are raiding supermarket shelves and leaving those most in need without food and essential supplies

Furious Britons are criticising selfish panic-buyers who are raiding supermarket shelves and leaving those most in need without food and essential supplies

Supermarkets hire thousands of new staff to battle soaring demand

Supermarkets are responding to increasing pressure to stock shelves and deliver orders on time with an urgent recruitment push to hire thousands including 9,000 at Aldi, and 5,000 at Asda. 

Lidl has announced plans to recruit 2,500 workers on four-week contracts to help keep up with high demand in stores as customers continue clearing shelves over the coronavirus outbreak.

The grocer said recruits can start immediately and will be paid at least £9.30 an hour, adding ‘the new hires will be responsible for working together to keep the store clean, tidy and the shelves well stocked so that customers can get the products they need’. 

Asda has announced plans to hire more than 5,000 temporary employees laid off due to Covid-19, working with 20 national companies to bring staff from industries including food and travel at risk of losing their jobs.

Chief executive Roger Burnley said: ‘During these difficult times everyone has to work together to help people most affected by Covid-19 and Asda is pleased to play its part.

‘That is why today we have committed to hiring more than 5,000 employees who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 and have been left with deep concerns about their household budgets.’

In her heartbreaking appeal, Ms Bilbrough, 51, from York, who had just completed a lengthy and exhausting shift, explained that she had visited her supermarket to pick up basic food items for the next two days when she was left having a ‘little cry’. 

After discovering there were no fruit and vegetables for her to sustain a healthy living amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the healthcare worker made a tearful plea to the public urging them to ‘just stop it’.

Britons retweeted Ms Bilbrough’s message using the hashtag #doitfordawn, urging shoppers to stop hoarding crucial groceries leaving others with little or nothing.  

The nurse took to Facebook from the seat of her car to tell the nation: ‘So I’ve just come out the supermarket. There’s no fruit and veg and I had a little cry in there.’ 

‘I’m a critical care nurse and I’ve just finished 48 hours of work and I just wanted to get some stuff in for the next 48 hours. 

‘There’s no fruit, there’s no vegetables and I just don’t know how I’m supposed to stay healthy. 

‘Those people who are just stripping the shelves have basic foods you just need to stop it because it’s people like me that are going to be looking after you when you are at your lowest and just stop it please!’

After sharing the emotional video, Ms Bilbrough was flooded with messages of support from concerned friends and loved ones, with some offering her some of their very own food items.

One person wrote: ‘Oh Dawn, I’m so sorry to see you so upset. The job you are doing is so very important to so many people, and how unfair it is that this means you are last in line for the nutritious food you really need to stay healthy and keep doing that important job. Thinking of you and sending much love.xxx’

While another commented: ‘Oh dear Dawn, heartbreaking to see you like this, I feel you, you are strong, and it is so important what you do….and many others…proud proud proud. I will share….’

Another user added: ‘Sending you love and strength Dawn Bilbrough xx’

Elsewhere another person offered the nurse some of their own groceries, telling her: ‘Dawn bless you, please don’t cry! I’m in isolation but I have a bag of potatoes, carrots and a water melon you can have. 

‘I can leave them on my doorstep for you, double bagged! Be fine once, cleaned and boiled. Please don’t cry.’

The emotionally-charged video comes as retailers stress there is plenty of food in the supply chain but shoppers need to act responsibly to ensure everyone can get what they need- particularly those who are the most vulnerable. 

Shoppers queue before the 7am opening time to enter a Sainsbury's supermarket in Oldham, northern England, on March 20

Shoppers queue before the 7am opening time to enter a Sainsbury's supermarket in Oldham, northern England, on March 20

Shoppers queue before the 7am opening time to enter a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Oldham, northern England, on March 20

Pictured: Shop shelves are left empty in a supermarket in the centre of York, northern England, on March 19

Pictured: Shop shelves are left empty in a supermarket in the centre of York, northern England, on March 19

Pictured: Shop shelves are left empty in a supermarket in the centre of York, northern England, on March 19

Piers Morgan calls out stores and sellers that are inflating prices as much four times including toilet roll for £14 

Calls are flooding in on social media to name and shame stores that are inflating their prices so much that a four-pack of toilet roll is selling for up to £14 amid coronavirus panic buying. 

Piers Morgan tweeted two pictures from local shops showing the prices of toilet roll as £14.99 and £18.99. 

He tweeted the pictures alongside the caption: ‘Been sent this by a friend up North, taken in a local store today. 

Calls are flooding in on social media to name and shame stores that are inflating their prices so much that a four-pack of toilet roll is selling for up to £14 amid coronavirus panic buying

Calls are flooding in on social media to name and shame stores that are inflating their prices so much that a four-pack of toilet roll is selling for up to £14 amid coronavirus panic buying

Calls are flooding in on social media to name and shame stores that are inflating their prices so much that a four-pack of toilet roll is selling for up to £14 amid coronavirus panic buying

‘Just as we’ll never forget the wonderful generosity and kindness of people who go the extra mile now, nor should we ever forgive essential shop-keepers who fleece their regular customers in a time of crisis.’

Some Twitter users have speculated that they believe the store is a corner shop in Gainford, Darlington.  

Another outraged customer filmed the owners of his local newsagent which had hiked the price of a packet of toilet roll to £10. 

Footage shows a woman behind the counter at the newsagent on the phone to police claiming the customer is ‘harassing’ her. 

He proceeds to walk out of the shop and says, ‘Do not come to this shop,’ while pointing his camera at the storefront. 

James Deegan posted the footage on to his Twitter account alongside the caption: ‘This is akin to the black market in WW2 and this should be made illegal. 

‘She’s calling police, they should be arresting them for profiteering in a national emergency. 

‘There is no excuse for hiking prices like this absolute scumbags.’ 

Other social media users took to Twitter to post pictures of their local shops profiteering from similar methods.  

The dramatic rise in prices comes as Boris Johnson yesterday spoke on the topic of mass buying. 

Horrified Twitter users responded to the astonishing uploads to show their disgust

Horrified Twitter users responded to the astonishing uploads to show their disgust

Horrified Twitter users responded to the astonishing uploads to show their disgust

During the fourth press conference of its kind, created to keep the public up to date on coronavirus issues, Johnson said:  ‘I really hope retailers will continue to be reasonable.   

‘I don’t want to see profiteering of any kind.

‘We’ve got good supply chains and farms, theres no reason for shops to be empty.

‘Everyone understands why people are buying stuff – we’re being advised to stay at home if we have symptoms.

‘However, please be reasonable in your shopping and be considerate of other shoppers as you do it.’ 

Sajid Javid tweeted to say: ‘Stop panic buying. I know many of you are tense and nervous. But it has real consequences for vulnerable people. 

‘Just think. And stop it.’ 

Horrified Twitter users responded to the astonishing uploads to show their disgust. 

Online retailers on eBay were also found to be hiking prices up and two rolls of toilet paper were seen selling for £9.99

Online retailers on eBay were also found to be hiking prices up and two rolls of toilet paper were seen selling for £9.99

Online retailers on eBay were also found to be hiking prices up and two rolls of toilet paper were seen selling for £9.99

One said: ‘Report to trading standards, profiteering is illegal.’ 

While another said: ‘This is a disgrace! How can these people live with themselves. Can we not name and shame these individuals? 

‘They need outing on TV.’  

Online retailers on eBay were also found to be hiking prices up and two rolls of toilet paper were seen selling for £9.99, alongside another brand of toilet paper which was selling four rolls for the same price.  

The shelves are empty as panic buying continues at the Tesco Holmbush store in Shoreham, earlier this week

The shelves are empty as panic buying continues at the Tesco Holmbush store in Shoreham, earlier this week

The shelves are empty as panic buying continues at the Tesco Holmbush store in Shoreham, earlier this week

Items that are now selling out, and subsequently being rationed, at supermarkets up and down the country, include long-life milk, cleaning fluids, toilet rolls and pasta

Items that are now selling out, and subsequently being rationed, at supermarkets up and down the country, include long-life milk, cleaning fluids, toilet rolls and pasta

Items that are now selling out, and subsequently being rationed, at supermarkets up and down the country, include long-life milk, cleaning fluids, toilet rolls and pasta

Supermarkets are responding to increasing pressure to stock shelves and deliver orders on time with an urgent recruitment push to hire thousands including 9,000 at Aldi, and 5,000 at Asda. 

Lidl announced plans to recruit 2,500 workers on four-week contracts to help keep up with high demand in stores as customers continue clearing shelves over the coronavirus outbreak.

The grocer said recruits can start immediately and will be paid at least £9.30 an hour, adding ‘the new hires will be responsible for working together to keep the store clean, tidy and the shelves well stocked so that customers can get the products they need’. 

Asda’s plans include hiring more than 5,000 temporary employees laid off due to Covid-19, working with 20 national companies to bring staff from industries including food and travel at risk of losing their jobs.

Chief executive Roger Burnley said: ‘During these difficult times everyone has to work together to help people most affected by Covid-19 and Asda is pleased to play its part.

‘That is why today we have committed to hiring more than 5,000 employees who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 and have been left with deep concerns about their household budgets.’

Following the rise in panic buying, supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury’s announced that they will be restricting customers to only buying three of any grocery item. 

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told MailOnline they are limiting purchases of grocery products to a maximum of three of each item and a maximum of two on the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.  

Meanwhile, while Asda and Morrisons announced they too will be restricting purchases across 1,250 regularly-bought lines. 

Online retailer Ocado also temporarily stopped new customers from gaining a membership after they were left overwhelmed by orders from people choosing to self-isolate amid the crisis. 

Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the country to stop panic buying and be ‘reasonable’ when they went to the supermarkets. 

He said: ‘We’ve got good supply chains and farms, there’s no reason for shops to be empty.

‘Everyone understands why people are buying stuff – we’re being advised to stay at home if we have symptoms.

‘However, please be reasonable in your shopping and be considerate of other shoppers as you do it.’

Iceland store opens its doors just for the elderly

Scores of pensioners ignored coronavirus self-isolation to visit a Birmingham Iceland supermarket which had opened just for them.

Shoppers compared the situation to a ‘war-like effort’ as they queued at the Harborne High Street branch, which opened up to just pensioners and the disabled on Wednesday morning. 

Wiping back the tears, Susan Maple, 77, said: ‘I’ve got some supplies for my neighbour. She’s in her 90s and can’t get out. I’m glad to help.’

Staff at the door had to turn many younger people away ‘with apologies’ urging them to return later.

Yet Iceland has said that some customers had refused to ‘respect’ the new rules, but did not name the stores concerned.

Branches across the country had adopted the policy of allowing the vulnerable to get hold of supplies over a set time period before they sold out.

Theresa Lambell, 47, and Joe Field, 75, who have been neighbours for the last seven years, are ‘helping each other out’ during the virus outbreak.

‘We wanted to help each other out and be mindful of the situation,’ said Theresa. ‘It’s difficult to be facing this by yourself, so it’s a bonding experience.

‘We’re sharing certain items. We managed to get toilet roll so that will be divvied up between us.’

DJ slammed for making £3,000 in two hours by selling toilet roll out of his van after buying it wholesale

A DJ has been slammed for cashing in on the coronavirus panic after he made £3,000 in two hours selling premium toilet paper out of his van on the side of the road.

Lee Marshall parked in a layby and sold 600 cases of 45 rolls for £15 each. He bought the premium roll from a wholesaler and went on to sell all of them – raking in thousands of pounds in profit between him and his two friends.

In a video to his fans on YouTube, he urged people to ‘get down here’ as stockpiling grips the country.

He continued: ‘If you want loo roll you’ve got to get out of bed at 4am get yourselves down to Morrisons or Aldi, you’ll be queueing up for about an hour and you might be able to get one if you’re lucky.

‘Lee’s Loo Rolls Limited is now open.’

The DJ, known as Disco Boy, wanted to do his own version of running a cherry stall by bulk-buying toilet paper and selling it in Whitstable, Kent.

He revealed: ‘A supplier messaged us and said they’ve got loads of toilet roll and can’t sell them because hotels aren’t buying at the moment. They’re just sitting in a warehouse.

‘I looked in the supermarket and they were roughly the same price as an Andrex toilet paper anyway – so we’ve sort of made £3-per-pack on them.

‘We kept some back for delivering at night – as we’ve had a lot of people messaging that they can’t reach us. My mate Brett was out until 11.30pm the day before.

‘The last drop-off I did last night, the old lady was scared and left her money by the door. We’ve done so many home deliveries and haven’t charged extra for them.’

Speaking about whether he would do it again, Mr Marshall admitted that it would be a definite possibility.

‘I’m a DJ and I’ve had so many gigs cancelled. I’ve got bills to pay and trying to keep my head above water.

‘I’ve always been a bit of a businessman and thought you can’t always make memories, but you can always make money.’

The video of Mr Marshall advertising his makeshift business has divided the internet.

One viewer said: ‘Missed opportunity here, you could have gone around giving it away for free and that video would have gone absolutely viral and you would have more than likely made more than £3k from views.’

Another added: ‘Yeah well done mate making a lot of money out of scared people panicking, great job extorting people big thumbs up pal…ha ha*’

Lee Marshall parked in a layby and sold 600 cases of 45 rolls for £15 each. He bought the premium roll from a wholesaler and went on to sell all of them - raking in thousands of pounds in profit between him and his two friends

Lee Marshall parked in a layby and sold 600 cases of 45 rolls for £15 each. He bought the premium roll from a wholesaler and went on to sell all of them - raking in thousands of pounds in profit between him and his two friends

Lee Marshall parked in a layby and sold 600 cases of 45 rolls for £15 each. He bought the premium roll from a wholesaler and went on to sell all of them – raking in thousands of pounds in profit between him and his two friends

Social media users were divided over Lee Marshall's tactic of buying premium roll from a wholesaler and selling all of them

Social media users were divided over Lee Marshall's tactic of buying premium roll from a wholesaler and selling all of them

Social media users were divided over Lee Marshall’s tactic of buying premium roll from a wholesaler and selling all of them

A third added: ‘That’s messed up… I really like your videos normally but you are profiteering off of a health crisis.

‘The bulk buy that you made to get all of this could have stopped old ladies and other people in need from accessing it.’

Another said: ‘Bit sad this, using a virus to gain money.’

But others supported his entrepreneurial ways.

Adam Gilmore wrote: ‘Legend Lee. Making a little bit of money whilst providing a cheap service. For everyone complaining he could’ve charged more and it’s not a product from the stores but from a wholesaler.

Paulo Maldinio said: ‘You done those people in the Community a solid, that was cheap. Bless you disco boy.’

Responding to the criticism, Lee wrote on his YouTube channel that he and his friends had lost their jobs.

He added: ‘All four of us involved have lost our jobs – we had this week and have bills to pay like anyone else.

‘Just putting this out there as there seems to be a lot of statements going around that we profited heavily from the vulnerable when it’s not like that at all.

‘Actually had a horrible week despite keeping a smile and powering through – hearing of so many others losing their jobs and my gigs getting cancelled.

‘Most of us reading this have our health, a roof over are head and a half comfy bed. I’ve never been one to show off materialistic things – I’m all about making the memories, travelling to places etc it’s gonna be tough times for all ahead. Always appreciate the simple things in life.

‘I’m usually happy all the time, I’m messing around with friends, making random vidz – just saying this cause now is the time to be very careful with the money we do have in times of uncertainty.

Peace out much.’

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