LOCALS on a Scottish island have been left furious after “large groups of Tesco workers” from “Covid hotspots” travelled to their community to help with stock taking.
Police were called to speak to a group of “around 30” people after they had managed to board a ferry from Scrabster in Caithness to Stromness, Orkney last week (NOV 4).
After speaking with police, the workers returned back to the mainland and aborted their trip to help colleagues at the Kirkwall Tesco store.
Islanders have claimed that the staff on board had come from Glasgow – where most areas are and still remain in tier three.
Government rules state that anyone living in tier three areas should not be travelling unless in or out of the area unless it is essential.
News of the incident has caused uproar on social media, with some members of the public saying Tesco should be fined.
Liz McKinlay tweeted last night: “One of my village friends, who’s originally from Orkney, told me that Tesco had sent several staff from covid hit Glasgow to Orkney to do stocktaking!
“She says 30 were on board the boat! Fortunately, Orkney police were notified and they weren’t allowed to disembark. Wtf Tesco?”
Eileen May said: “Sending people from level three or four up to Orkney? Tesco should be charged.”
Twitter user @Aye4Scotland wrote: “Actually, these were key workers. Entitled to cover the length and breadth of the UK.
“Most likely not Tesco Staff, but contractors. The question being should stock taking be regarded as a necessity at this time?”
Wendy Jane Cavanagh wrote: “What the actual f*** and they wonder why the numbers keep rising when companies do this s***?”
And Nic A Char said: “Fine Tesco now.”
Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director at NorthLink Ferries, said: “NorthLink Ferries can confirm that crew on board passenger ferry MV Hamnavoe worked with Police Scotland and the relevant organisations involved this morning to support the return of a group of passengers who had travelled from Scrabster to Stromness.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of all passengers, crew and local communities is a priority for NorthLink Ferries and as such we continue to closely follow current guidance and enhanced COVID-19 protocols.”
Chief Inspector Matt Webb from Police Scotland said: “Officers were contacted earlier today with concerns regarding a large group of people arriving by ferry into Orkney.
“Following discussions with the organisations involved, they decided that the group should return to the mainland.”
Tesco confirmed they were contacted by police about a third party organisation who were travelling to its Kirkwall store to conduct an audit on the behalf of the company.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “The safety of our colleagues, customers and suppliers is our number one priority and we are following all Government guidance and taking the relevant precautions.”
He added: “Last week a small group of people from a third-party organisation, who were traveling to our Orkney store to conduct an audit on our behalf, were stopped by police.
“We have been speaking to the police and we are making arrangements for the essential audit to happen in the future.”
Tesco said the team were conducting an essential audit to make sure islanders had essential products in store.
They claim that they had planned to conduct the audit overnight in order to limit contact with colleagues and customers.