A customer in a Lincoln branch of Aldi was spotted buying a massive haul of pasta, rice and crisps, leaving one eyewitness “gobsmacked”.
The shopper loaded up the conveyor belt with hoards of dry goods, in what is thought to be a case of panic buying ahead of Thursday’s second national lockdown in England.
Stuart Darben visited the store in Newark Road at around 11am on Monday with his partner when he spotted the shopping mountain.
He said: “I was gobsmacked with what I saw and the shopper in front of me was too.
"I could see another staff member looking at the till but I don’t think he wanted to say anything.
"I turned to my partner and said, ‘This shouldn't be happening, it's not right.’
"I even said to the check-out operator, is it right he should be doing that?”
When asked about the incident, an Aldi Spokesperson told Yahoo News UK: “We have good availability across all of our stores and there are regular deliveries, at least once a day.
“There is no need for customers to buy more than they normally would.”
Shoppers at other stores have said they are in “absolute disbelief” after seeing some supermarket shelves emptying once more ahead of the second national lockdown in England.
Maria White shopped at a Lidl in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, on Monday evening to find empty shelves where usually there was bread, vegetables and meat.
White, who works for a web design site, said despite the supermarket not appearing as busy as during the first lockdown, seeing the empty shelves “triggered” other shoppers to buy extra items.
Watch: Large queues suggest panic buying ahead of lockdown
“A gentleman bought about 30 bottles of water of two litres each,” the 35-year-old told news agency PA.
“Another lady grabbed about 10 packages of pasta and a few sauces.
“I think it’s a rather selfish and an unnecessary overreaction, given that the supermarkets and shops won’t close during lockdown and I believe… will have enough supplies.”
Ahead of the UK-wide lockdown in March, a number of supermarkets introduced limits on purchases of key items to counter the effects of stockpiling.
Some chains, including Morrisons and Tesco, reintroduced these measures in recent weeks as the rate of the virus’ spread increased – using policies such as three items per customer on some products.
Under the new lockdown restrictions, food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.
What have supermarkets said about panic buying?
Supermarkets have started to implement restrictions on some items, stopping people buying up certain products – like toilet roll and flour – in bulk.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We have good availability in stores and online, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal.”
Aldi CEO Giles Hurley wrote in a letter: "I would like to reassure you that our stores remain fully stocked and ask that you continue to shop considerately."
Sainsbury’s said they currently have “good supply” of products and have not yet introduced any buying limitations, but urged customers to “continue to buy what you need for yourself and your family and there will be enough for everyone”.
Morrisons said they have introduced a limit “on a small number of key products, such as toilet roll and disinfectant”.
A spokeswoman added: "Our stock levels of these products are good but we want to ensure that they are available for everyone."
Lidl do not have any limitations in place yet but a spokesperson said: ”We hope all customers remain mindful of others when shopping with us to ensure everyone continues to have access to the products they need.
"Nonetheless, it is at our store managers discretion, should customers start to bulk-buy, to limit the purchasing of specific items at that store."
Watch: What is long COVID?