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'Selfish' shoppers stock up on non-essential DIY supplies and hot tubs

Selfish shoppers have been seen buying hot-tubs, bamboo fencing and light-up trees despite vows of a police crackdown on non-essential buying.

People have been seen flocking to B&M and The Range stores to grab DIY and gardening equipment – ignoring demands to only leave home if they really have to.

Soil and sat navs have also been snapped up with police now forced to park outside to catch those ignoring government demands to help combat the coronavirus.

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for homewear retailer The Range to close its doors during the lockdown.

But dozens of shoppers could be seen taking advantage of the store at one of its branches in West Bromwich, West Midlands.

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West Bromwich was full of shoppers, with soil and sun lounger cushions picked up (Image: SWNS)

One couple could be seen leaving with a duvet for their bed, while another man walked away clutching bags of compost. Others left with pots of paint and Easter eggs.

Police had promised to crack down on people making trips for non-essential purchases and anyone caught can be fined £60 for a first offence at £120 the second time round.

Residents have raised concerns too many shoppers are flocking to the store unnecessarily and putting lives in danger.

Art teacher Andrew Clacher said he pulled up at his local Range to buy some milk and found a queue stretching around which looked like a Bank Holiday.

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He said: “I was shocked to see the car park almost full and a long queue with many elderly people lined up. It had the feeling of a bank holiday Monday.

“As I walked closer – it seemed that most of the trolleys leaving, were full of garden products – plants, bags of compost and spades.

“What a pity that some have ignored the heartfelt advice from the Queen for self discipline.

“I have a vulnerable adult at home and did not want to take the risk of lining up or entering the shop whilst it was so busy. I feel disappointed that there are a few people who do not realise there actions are affecting the whole country’s fight against the coronavirus.

Police were on watch in Gloucester (Image: Twitter/@GlosCityPolice WS)

“I feel the Range should only be selling what the government considers to be essential products. This would help to prevent unnecessary trips out.”

Another West Bromwich resident, who asked not to be named, said: “The store was packed and I couldn’t believe how many people were buying items that were clearly not essential.

“The gardening section was heaving with people, I imagine because of the nice weather everyone is out in their back yards.

“People are taking advantage of the fact this place is still open, but its selfish if you’re only coming here to get a few cushions or a barbecue.”

Frustrated staff say they are left with no choice but to serve customers (Image: SWNS)

However, one defiant shopper, who did want to be identified, added: “If this place is open its not illegal to come here, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

“I’m stuck in the house pretty much 24/7 so I might as well get out and do a few jobs around the house and in the garden. They can’t stop us doing that, surely.”

The Range workers previously claimed that aisles are too close together to maintain social distancing and they do not have enough protective equipment.

Chris Dawson, who owns the 180 chain Range stores, defended the decision to stay open as they sell essential items such as groceries, cleaning products, non-prescription medicines and toilet rolls.


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