Reporter Hilary Scott witnessed alarming scenes while shopping in Peebles this week. This is her account of the episode...

It’s felt like Christmas visiting the supermarkets in Peebles this week. Minus the tinsel, carols, joy, and spirit. It was a mass though...of panic buyers raiding the shelves and leaving them bare.

A trip to Tesco or Sainsbury’s in Peebles was like appearing in a nightmare version of supermarket sweep.

Hordes of shoppers have flooded stores across the nation stockpiling food and household items to prepare for a coronavirus lockdown.

And Peeblesshire was no different. Except this time, there wasn’t even a snowflake falling from the sky threatening a snowstorm to evoke the frantic pursuit of groceries.

In the aftermath of frenzied buying, exasperated locals pushed their trolleys up and down the aisles and returned to the check-outs with barely anything.

Perhaps someone has built a fortress constructed of toilet rolls to protect themselves from the virus, because there certainly wasn’t a square of the stuff to be found on the shelves!

I’m not sure what was more alarming, the thought of no toilet paper, or the fact that signs had to be erected at the checkout warning shoppers about verbal abuse to staff.

We contacted Tesco who are advising their customers “to shop as they normally would”. The company said it was limiting the certain items to two per customer. This included anti-bacterial products, dried pasta, tinned vegetables, toilet rolls, and UHT milk.

Meanwhile, at the time of going to press, Sainsbury’s announced that it has set aside the first hour in stores for elderly and vulnerable customers.

The company is also limiting a larger number of products. Customers will be able to buy a maximum of three of any grocery product and a maximum of two on the most popular products, including toilet paper, soap, and UHT milk.

“Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe said: “As we work hard to feed the nation, we are also focusing all our efforts on getting as much food and other essential items from our suppliers, into our warehouses and onto shelves as we possibly can.

“We still have enough food for everyone – if we all just buy what we need for us and our families.”

Tesco’s well-known slogan is “every little helps”, while Sainsbury’s tell their shoppers to ‘live well for less’ – a few words that say so much and have a deeper meaning during these uncertain times.