A SUPERMARKET in Reading has been forced to put up signs on its front doors telling panic buyers not to assault staff.

Tesco Extra on Portman Road, off the Oxford Road, also has new signs on shelves warning that shoplifters could be arrested.

The coronavirus outbreak has seen an increase in people panic buying and stockpiling food.

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The signs on the shop’s front doors say: “Please treat our in-store colleagues with respect.

“We will report any verbal of physical abuse of our colleagues. Thank you.”

On empty shelves where meat usually is, other signs say: “Shoplifters risk arrest.”

Reading Chronicle:

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At 6pm on March 17, the shop did not have any potatoes, sausages, bacon, pasta, eggs, and very little bread and rice.

A cashier said: “It has just been mad here. The staff can’t stock the shelves at night because of the people panic buying.”

The supermarket chain will start closing both Tesco Extras in Reading overnight from 10pm to 6am.

Reading Chronicle:

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are changing these store hours to ensure we can serve customers better at this time.

“It gives our colleagues the time overnight to restock the store, replenish the shelves and support our online grocery service, at a time when demand is high.”

Reading Chronicle:

Bruno Monteyne, former supply chain director, warned at the start of March of panic buying, empty shelves, and food riots, national press recently reported.

Mr Monteyne said while supermarkets have thorough plans in place, the army could be called in to “protect food depots, trucks and stores”.