'Selfish' shoppers pretended to be NHS staff in order to nab items during a dedicated hour for medical heroes and the elderly in a vile attempt to beat the queues.
Shocking clips and snaps emerged on social media of doctors, nurses and 111 callers walking past shelves that had been completely emptied and one medical worker went viral after she broke down, unable to buy food.
This led numerous supermarkets to introduce a dedicated hour for NHS staff, who are on in the front-line fight against COVID-19.
But, sickening photos of shoppers queuing up to 600 metres, without standing a safe distance apart from one another outside a Tesco on Sunday morning, emerged online.
Some even tried to brazenly sneak into the supermarket and jump the queue, at a Tesco Extra in Gallions Reach, east London.
A family was even seen arguing with security staff and rammed their trollies into the barriers when their stunt to join the NHS shopping hour ended in failure.
The supermarket was one of many Tesco store that offered entry to NHS staff during the hour after they flashed security officers their badges, and were even offered a free bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers.
NHS heroes praised Tesco staff for their efforts, but also raised the alarm that many of them – who had treated coronavirus patients – were queuing too close to other shoppers.
Nurse Francesca Hamilton arrived at the store by 9am, but left to help Tesco staff keep control of the crowd.
She admitted she was stunned by the brazen attempts of some shoppers.
The 47-year-old sexual health nurse, from Marie Stopes International, told The Mirror: “I’m surprised people have tried to jump the queue. It’s unbelievable.
“Now is the time for people to look after us so that we can look after you but they are not listening.
“Tesco staff are doing their best but there are too many people so I decided to come out of the queue and help.
“If I can help people in hospitals, I can help people here and I will. I am passionate about helping people in sickness and in health.
“I have not done my shopping yet. I have been here since 9am but I live nearby so I will do mine later.”
Ms Hamilton continued: “If people respect the government’s advice that they have set out for NHS workers then it would be fine but people are not following that.”
Tesco security guard Westy Westfield said the NHS hours were working to help medical studded, but that selfish shoppers had let them down by sneaking into the queue.
The 53-year-old added: “We are going to need them (NHS staff) to be healthy. The best thing is to let them be able to get their shopping but nobody wants to wait.
“Members of the public are being selfish. I have been working here for five years and it is the same people.
“People are trying to jump the queue and sneak in or are pretending to be NHS workers when they are not.”
The distressing images of NHS workers failing to buy any food due to hoarders come as the UK faces its greatest threat in peacetime from the coronavirus.
Hospitals have reportedly sounded the alarm that staff is stretched and patients are coming in through the doors at a blisteringly-fast rate.
It comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 5,683 and the death toll jumped to 281.
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