Panic-buyers queue around the block in rain to stockpile last-minute Christmas food amid 'rationing'

PANIC-BUYERS have queued around the block in the rain today to stockpile last-minute Christmas food amid supermarket rationing.

Millions of shoppers across the UK have spent hours waiting in queues to buy food and other supplies this week.

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The stockpiling has seen supermarket shelves stripped bare, and it has continued despite a border blockade being lifted.

Tesco yesterday brought back rationing limits on five items as panicking shoppers have given supermarkets record paydays by splashing out £2.5billion since Monday.

There have been fears supermarkets could run out of lettuce, cauliflower and citrus fruits due to a French travel ban due to a new strain of Covid.

Tesco has had "rationing" or stock limits on a number of items in place since September.

But now it has brought back a one loo roll per customer rule, as well as limiting shoppers to a maximum of three eggs, rice, soap and handwash.

The limits have been brought back to help deal with demand due to panic-buying, rather than product shortages.

French President Emmanuel Macron lifted a 48-hour blockade imposed amid fears over the new Covid strain last night.

The limits meant lorries carrying supplies were turned away at ports in Dover and Calais, causing a severe backlog.

Drivers destined for France can now show any recognised Covid test to gain entry.

Customers feared that the blockade would lead to a shortage of products in UK supermarkets, with imports unable to make it into Britain from Europe via Dover.

Tesco’s rationing limits explained

WHAT items does Tesco have limits on?

Since September there has been a limit of three per person in store on five items:

  • flour
  • dried pasta
  • toilet roll
  • baby wipes
  • anti-bacterial wipes

This week it brought back limits, with one per customer on:

  • toilet roll

And up to three per customer on:

  • eggs
  • rice
  • soap
  • handwash (but not hand gel or sanitiser 

Despite Boris Johnson telling people to "shop normally", keen shoppers have waited in long queues outside supermarkets.

Tempers flared as shops mixed up orders and staff became overwhelmed.

Sainsbury's and Tesco both said they have enough food for customers over Christmas, but warned of potential shortages of items like lettuce, cauliflower and citrus fruits before the freight ban was lifted.

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