SHOPPERS have been branded “selfish” after shelves were left bare ahead of a second national lockdown.

Maria White described seeing fellow customers scoop up huge hauls of bottled water and packets of pasta during a trip to Lidl in Burgess Hill last night.

Supermarkets have told shoppers there is no need for panic buying, with Sainsbury’s and Tesco among the major chains to issue statements saying they have a “good availability” of stock.

The Argus: Empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle of Asda in HollingburyEmpty shelves in the toilet paper aisle of Asda in Hollingbury

Yet some people continue to buy in bulk, with the nation set for a second lockdown from midnight on Thursday.

This will see all non-essential retail stores forced to close.

During her visit to the Burgess Hill Lidl store last night, Ms White found empty shelves where there were usually plentiful supplies of bread, vegetables and meat.

The 35-year-old, 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.

The Argus:

“A gentleman bought about 30 bottles of water of two litres each,” she said.

“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 (they) will have enough supplies.”

Also on Monday night, another shopper shared images of emptier than usual shelves at the Tesco store in Durrington, Worthing, on social media.

The Argus:

The photographs showed that toilet paper supplies had been depleted.

The customer said: “Tesco in Durrington is doing OK.

“There are some empty shelves, but still plenty there.”

Customers also reported empty shelves in the toilet paper and kitchen roll sections of the Asda superstore in Hollingbury this evening.

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.

The Argus:

Some chains, including Morrisons and Tesco, have 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.

Social media posts have shown an increase in the purchasing of essential items in recent weeks, affecting a variety of supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s.

In an attempt to prevent this, supermarket chiefs have repeatedly encouraged shoppers not to stockpile.

A firm statement on Lidl’s website reads: “Our stores are being replenished every day.

“That item you want to buy ‘just in case’, might be essential for someone more vulnerable who can’t visit the store multiple times.”

A Tesco spokesman also warded customers off panic buying.

The Argus:

He 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 chief executive Giles Hurley went a step further, writing an open letter to customers to ask them to “shop considerately”.

He said: “All of our stores are fully stocked, we have good availability and there are regular deliveries, at least once a day.

“There is no need to buy more than normal so please shop considerately.

“If you can’t make it into one of our stores, we are increasing the availability of our new click and collect service, which is now available in 12 locations, with more stores being added weekly.

The Argus:

“Visit groceries.aldi.co.uk to see if this new service is available in your area.

“You may also be able to get Aldi groceries delivered to your home via Deliveroo. Check the Deliveroo app or visit aldi.co.uk/Deliveroo to see if the service is available locally.”

The second national lockdown, announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday following a leak to the press last week, will come into effect on Thursday providing it is supported by MPs in a vote tomorrow.

It will last until at least December 2, with uniform restrictions across the UK.

These will mean it is no longer permitted to meet anyone from another household indoors or in private gardens, with people urged to stay at home wherever possible to limit the risk of Covid transmission.

The Argus: The Asda superstroe in HollingburyThe Asda superstroe in Hollingbury

People can still meet with one person from another household in an outside public space.

All non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will be forced to close, although supermarkets will remain open and are able to sell non-essential goods.

Schools, colleges and universities are also set to stay open.