British supermarkets are expecting to get police support to deter unruly behaviour if London goes into lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak, according to an industry source.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined the country’s biggest supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, in urging shoppers not to panic buy.
However, the pleas have fallen on deaf ears, with demand increasing and stores being stripped bare of food.
There were rowdy scenes, fights and scuffles in some supermarkets on Thursday as British shoppers sought to buy basic items such as toilet paper, bottled water and tinned goods ahead of an expected toughening of measures by the UK government.
On Wednesday the major supermarkets limited purchases of all food products in an attempt to stem the stockpiling.
All have also beefed up their private security measures.
A police source said one issue with having officers stationed at supermarkets was exposing them to the virus themselves from the large numbers of people visiting the stores.