Empty shelves spotted at Doncaster supermarket amid nationwide shortage fears

Empty shelves have been spotted at a major Doncaster supermarket as fears of food shortages rise nationwide.

Photos taken at the Sainsbury’s branch in Edenthorpe earlier this week and shared with the Free Press, show numerous empty shelves – with fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products all in short supply with numerous empty spaces around the store.

Last month, Sainsbury’s warned of shortages because of a lack of truckers.

Empty shelves at Doncaster's Sainsbury's branch in Edenthorpe.

The upset shopper said: “So much for the Brexiteers that deny this is happening! Yes, Covid has made things worse, but when you add a shortage of people to pick fruit and veg and a driver shortage, both in great part due to Brexit, the evidence is clear.”

Britain is facing a shortage of 100,000 truck drivers and around 2,000 military personnel who are qualified HGV drivers are believed to be on a five-day notice to help distribute food and essentials including medicine.

The Government is set to make a formal plea to the military for help ‘imminently’, with members of the Royal Logistics Corps and other regiments expected to be called upon by the end of September.

The crisis is thought to have been exacerbated by the so-called ‘pingdemic’ which has forced thousands of drivers to go into self-isolation.

There were also spaces in the fresh fruit aisles.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) warned there was a shortage of 100,000 lorry drivers as thousands are forced to wait to take their HGV test due to a huge backlog created by the lockdown.

RHA managing director of policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie, warned how the crisis was a ‘very serious threat’ to the supply chain.

‘There is a critical shortage of lorry drivers and the Government are using short-term measures to address this,’ he said.

‘The Government’s next step is to bring in the Army. There are 2,000 qualified HGV drivers in the Army. We’re 100,000 lorry drivers short,’ he said.

There were plenty of gaps in the fresh meat section.

‘Another issue is Army drivers are used to driving Army lorries and not civilian vehicles.

‘Once again, they are using a short-term fix. It is not a good idea. We need to address what to do to get another 100,000 drivers.’