Panic in the aisles of Tesco – Twickenham shoppers fight over loo-roll in Coronavirus fears

By Lilly Subbotin
March 19 2020, 19.05

Panic stricken shoppers stripped the aisles of Tesco Twickenham after Boris Johnson announces all schools in England will close on Friday.

The fear of Covid-19 seemed to be spreading faster than the virus itself as a sort of frenzy overtook customers today in their shopping.

SAFETY FIRST: A number of shoppers wore masks for protection

Despite Tesco implementing a three-item policy, with loo-roll and paracetamol restricted to two, shoppers were hurling handfuls of items into their trollies, ignoring the pleas of staff to follow the rules.

There was a clear sense of havoc in the air, as one shopper, Penelope West, 55, witnessed two customers scrapping over the last packet of loo roll who then had to be separated by a member of staff.

Mrs West said: “The atmosphere was like a plague of locusts going through a field of wheat.

“It was terrible and the whole of the place was so packed that you couldn’t really move freely anyway.

“People were bashing trollies into each other, all sense of decorum and politeness was completely absent.”

BOG OFF: Shoppers strip the aisles to the last packet

Some customers that seemingly followed the three-item policy would then be found coming back in and buying the same three items again.

The rampant behaviour was putting a massive strain on staff, with some saying it was even busier than it gets at Christmas time.

Customer assistant, Birgit, 62, said: “There was one girl in tears earlier on self-scan. I don’t think it’s right at all because we are doing our job.

“There was a guy in here the other day, he was blind, he wanted toilet paper.

“I searched everywhere to see if there was any and I couldn’t find him any, yeah it makes me sad, it makes me angry.”

The government said there is no need for people to stockpile. Speaking on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said: “We are absolutely confident our supply chains are working, and will work, and we will get “farm to fork” food supplies.

“Therefore people should have no reason to stockpile or panic-buy.”

The advice is that if you know you need to self-isolate, plan ahead so that you have a reasonable amount of supplies, and arrange for family and friends to drop off anything you may need.

Photos by Lilly Subbotin for South West Londoner

Related Articles