Supermarkets have been accused of setting up 'doomsday' displays aimed at worried stockpiling 'survivalist' shoppers but bosses have insisted it is all just a coincidence.
Shelves piled high with bulky household items usually kept in different aisles have been highlighted as Britons buy in bulk in case they and their families are isolated at home for weeks.
One customer at the Sainsbury's store in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, photographed the display close to the checkout - containing toilet rolls, crisps, bottled water, and pasta as well as 'mega packs' of detergents, dishwasher tablets and disinfectant.
James Woolnough told MaiOnline: 'Sainsburys have created this area to allow bulk buying of items that could be essential if this situation worsens I made sure I stocked up on the 5kg packets of dried pasta and bought a 60 metres packet of aluminium foil.
'I've been watching the show Doomsday Preppers on Netflix and these are some of the essential items survivalists recommend'.
Sainsbury's claim the display has been there for a year and a spokesman denied it was deliberate - but Mr Woolnough said: 'We haven’t noticed it in the past, but have only been buying in bulk over the last few weeks. The items in the area seem very specific to those that are recommended in these situations. Perhaps they have adapted the area to include such items'.
A Sainsbury's shopper in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, has spotted this display containing items Britons have been stockpiling in case there is a China-style shutdown over coronavirus
One committed MailOnline reader has built up 3 months worth of food and water for his family of four
Kirsty Mildrew spent £40 on small bottles of anti-bacterial hand gel in Aldi and Lidl and admitted: 'I was like a mad woman stock pilling - I’m keeping it all for myself and my family'
Shelves in this London Tesco is empty of pasta, pasta sauces, rice and other staples but crisps and chocolate oranges appear to have been left
The shelves of British supermarkets are emptying at pace as coronavirus stockpiling spiralled out of control amid warnings of 'food riots' if the crisis worsens - despite warnings from the Government not to panic buy.
Shortages previously limited to anti-bacterial hand gel and hand soap have spread to cupboard items such as rice, pasta, couscous, Pot Noodles, bottled water, toilet roll and pet food - as well as chilled items including milk, butter and yoghurt.
Pharmacy shelves are also emptying of paracetamol, ibuprofen and immune-system boosting tablets such as Berocca as people prepare to fight off the flu-like illness that has claimed hundreds of lives worldwide.
Facebook and Twitter is packed with photographs of empty shelves from major supermarkets across the UK where shoppers appear to have thrown empty boxes into the aisles in the mad scramble for items.
MailOnline readers have also shared pictures of their well-stocked larders as people prepare for weeks in isolation.
One reader said: 'I have been trying for THREE days to buy pasta but I cannot see any as most shops have run out of pasta and pasta sauce'.
The scramble for food has also revealed what Britons do not consider essentials despite a China-style shutdown of communities predicted - including some flavours of crisps and confectionary including Terry's Chocolate Orange.
Londoner Jasia Warren tweeted: 'Interesting to see what people are stockpiling in my local supermarket. Bare shelves for rice, pasta, handwash, tissues and loo roll. Also interesting to see what people are not stockpiling: polenta, crumpets and get well cards. Their loss is my gain. #stockpiling'.
This London Sainsbury's is running out of germ-busting disinfectant, bleach and anti-bacterial wipes
Water is also selling out in supermarkets including this Asda in the capital despite coronavirus posing little threat to the country's water supply
Sales of oral painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen are up ten per cent in the past year
Milk also appears to be flying off themselves along with other dairy products such as cheese and yoghurts also selling well
There has also been a spike in sales of effervescent drinks containing vitamin C including Berocca and Redoxen
This MailOnline reader has shared pictures of her stockpiled goods that include pies, squash, beans, sauces, detergent, bottled water and pet food
These two pocket-sized bottles of limited edition antibacterial hand gel are being sold on Amazon for £50 as people try to cash in
By Nick Fagge
Shoppers and supermarket staff have told how the Haslemere Coronavirus outbreak has caused panic buying.
Stocks of toilet roll, pasta and baked beans were completely sold out at the Sainsbury’s store in nearby Liphook, with new deliveries failing to make-up the short-fall.
Today shelves remained partially empty with shoppers buying extra provisions, just in case.
One shopper, who declined to be identified, told MailOnline: ‘There was panic buying here on Saturday.
‘The shelves were empty of rice, pasta, beans of all kinds, lentils and loo roll.
‘People were clearly worried about what had happened in Haslemere and wanted to make sure they would be ok if they had to stay in-doors.’
The 55-year-old mother-of-two, from Liphook, added she had been buying extra provisions today.
She said: ‘Today I saw the shelves were almost empty of loo roll so I have stocked up. I’ve also got some extra tins of soup in and some Lucozade in case we have to self-isolate.
‘Haslemere is only down the road and everyone around here knows people there.’
A Sainsbury’s worker described the weekend as ‘heaving’.
He said: ‘Saturday and Sunday were unbelievably busy – much busier than a normal weekend. We sold out of lots of essentials, like beans, toilet roll and pasta. It looked like people were trying to stock up just in case.’sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart