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Coronavirus panic-buyers 'stealing from trolleys' at Black Country cash and carry

Customers stockpiling essentials have left shelves empty for other shoppers in the Black Country.

Glynn Goodsell at Sellgoods Ltd in Tipton where customers have been stealing from each other's trolleys

The owner of a Tipton cash and carry has described having to stop customers stealing from each other's trolleys, while supermarket shelves across the region have been left empty due to shoppers bulk buying toilet roll, soap and other items.

It comes as the latest figures show that 382 people in the UK are now confirmed to have Covid-19.

One person has died in Wolverhampton, where three people have tested positive, while there has been one confirmed case in the Dudley borough and four in Staffordshire. So far nobody has been diagnosed in Sandwell or Walsall.

Empty shelves where toilet roll should be at Tesco in Willenhall on Tuesday

Glynn Goodsell, owner of Sellgoods Ltd in Speed Road, said people have been offering him three times the price for items.

He said: "On Thursday morning we started to notice an increase in sales.

"We turned up at 7am to open and there were 13 vans parked up, normally we'd only see one customer in the first hour or so.

"It was just chaos, everyone was putting anything they could get in their trolleys.

"People were stealing from other people's trolleys. I had to tell everybody to stop and get them all out and get them back in one at a time.

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"I wouldn't say they were fighting, but there was jostling.

"I've been in the trade 30-odd years and I've never seen anything like what is happening at the moment.

"I supply smaller shops and market traders, I've been working 14 hours a day for seven days recently.

"We sell soap for £3.99 a case and people have been offering me £15, but I'm not taking it.

"Our toilet roll delivery is days late now. People seem to think there is going to be a toilet paper shortage, well now there is because businesses can't keep up with the demand."

A sign at Tesco in Willenhall on Tuesday

Meanwhile major chains are also struggling to cope with the demand and have started restricting how much customers can buy.

Tesco are limiting certain items to five per customer including toilet roll, anti-bacterial items, dried pasta, and UHT milk.

And Sainsbury's are limiting soap, hand wash, tissues and cleaning products to five of each item and limiting purchases of pain relief to two.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “To make sure all customers can find everything they need we’re limiting purchases of a small number of products, including soap, hand wash, tissues, cleaning products and pain relief.

"Customers can be assured we are receiving new deliveries regularly.”

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