SHOPPERS were still struggling to buy household and food essentials in Skipton's main supermarkets this morning, despite the companies introducing limits on the number of items people can purchase in one go.

By 9.30am in Aldi there were gaps where toilet rolls, pasta, rice and tinned goods were, as well as things like paracetamol and ibuprofen.

A handful of bottles of milk were available, but a member of staff said that was what was left of a delivery from yesterday and that they were still waiting for a delivery of stock this morning.

A shopper said she had only gone for a few items but was unable to get kitchen roll.

The store was also limiting shoppers to four of the same item.

"I wish people wouldn't panic-buy. There's no need and there will be nothing left for other people," she said.

Aldi CEO Giles Hurley said: "We have taken action to discourage people buying more than they need. Customers are currently limited to buying four items of any one product during each visit. This is still significantly more than most customers would buy in a normal shopping trip and we hope this temporary restriction will give as many customers as possible the opportunity to get what they need, every time they visit.

In the town's Tesco, a similar picture emerged.

An assistant said they had had a delivery of toilet rolls this morning but they soon went.

She said people were restricted in how many items they could buy, but suspected several members of the same family were buying their separate quota. This resulted in stocks diminishing rapidly.

She added that frozen foods, particularly chips, had been selling out.

Sarah Hall, from Clapham, was at Tesco this morning doing some shopping for herself and three neighbours who were self-isolating.

"The problem I have had is being restricted to just two of each item, even though the shopping is for four different people. I'm worried people will come out of self-isolation just so they can shop."

She said people would end up shopping more often to try and get the things they need meaning social distancing was not being adhered to.

Another woman said she was frustrated at not being able to get some basic items.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “To help our customers get the things they need at this time we are introducing a purchase limit of three items on all our products. Our stock levels are good, and we have daily deliveries to replenish our stores.

"We would ask our customers to please shop as they normally would, to help maintain good availability for everyone.”

The chain has also started closing its 24-hour stores between 10pm and 6am to allow staff time to receive deliveries and replenish stocks.

Several Skipton shoppers were going from supermarket to supermarket to see what they could get. None of the people we spoke to were panic-buying and were after essentials, particularly toilet rolls.

But the story was virtually the same at Morrisons, in Broughton Road.

By mid-morning many shelves were empty of things like milk, pasta, rice, some medicines, kitchen and toilet rolls and some meat, particularly chicken.

Cereals such as porridge were sold out as were packs of flour.

Shop assistants were telling people that new stock was coming in each day and the best way to ensure getting some supplies was to keep going in.

A farmer's wife from Hanlith, doing her weekly shop, said she had managed to get what she needed on this occasion despite the restrictions.

"I have three men at home and though I have bought four loaves of bread, one of them can almost eat a full loaf in a day. I hope the situation we are in will make people think about shopping sensibly in the future and cutting down on waste," she said.

Several shoppers were going from supermarket to supermarket to see what they could get. None of the people we spoke said they had been panic-buying and were only after essentials but were struggling to find them.

Another shopper said: "Goodness knows what people are doing with all this food they are squirrelling away. I expect they are just sitting on it and carrying on buying things. I really hope it doesn't end up going past its use-by date and getting thrown out. That would be a huge waste."