Uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit is leading some York households to start stockpiling food in case we crash out of the EU on March 29, reports MAXINE GORDON

TO stockpile or not to stockpile?

That is the question for some families and households as Brexit day on March 29 draws nearer and uncertainty surrounds whether Britain exits the EU without a trade deal.

The fear is that without a deal in place, food supplies will be stuck at border control and items will disappear from shelves, be in short supply, or start to cost more.

Leading food retailers including Sainsbury’s, Asda and Marks & Spencer have written to the government warning of significant disruption to food supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, advice from the government is not to stockpile. A spokesperson from the Department for Exiting the European Union said: "People do not need to stockpile. Around half of our food is produced in the UK and a significant proportion of the rest is imported from countries outside the EU.

"There are plans in place to ensure that on day one of a no-deal scenario there will be a functioning customs, VAT and excise system, as well as a new approach to ensure that traffic continues to flow in both directions on the M20.

"We have secured extra freight capacity across the English Channel in the event of a no-deal to reduce potential pressures on the Dover-Calais crossing and ensure vital goods will continue to come into the country."

But several people remain unconvinced and have begun stockpiling their own food supplies at home.

Today, three share their stories...

York Press:

Dawn Dellow, 43, mum-of-three, Wilberfoss

Single mum Dawn (pictured) is an NHS physiotherapist in York and also runs her own private practice Delaunay Therapy. She lives ten miles outside York in the East Riding village of Wilberfoss with her three children: Tim, 20; Max, 18, and Ruby, four. Most of the time, they eat a plant-based diet with a little bit of meat.

Dawn says: "My kids don't know what hunger means; they have never, ever experienced that." It is that fear that has led Dawn to begin stockpiling dried goods and cans of food in the cupboard under the stairs.

In her make-shift larder are packets of rice, pasta and quinoa as well as lots of tinned tomatoes and pulses such as chickpeas. She has started making her own bread and is collecting bags of flour too.

"I am a feeder and there is always stuff in the freezer," says Dawn, adding there is even more in the freezer now as uncertainty over Brexit continues.

"Being prepared is the best thing. My kids don't drive and we live in Wilberfoss, so I always try to be prepared. I'm not one to panic most of the time, but I make sure the car is always full of petrol and that I have everything in, so I don't run out."

Dawn says her sister – who lives in London – is stockpiling too.

She added: "It might come to nothing, but I don't want to take the risk when I have a family to support."

York Press:

Richard Gray, 34, York

Freelance graphic artist Richard (pictured) lives with his partner Jessica Smith in Huntington, York, and has been gathering food supplies since Christmas – and compiled a digital list to keep track of the extra provisions.

He's been buying a few extra items each week with his shopping – filling a large plastic box that he keeps in his wardrobe. His aim is to build up a month's worth of food supplies ahead of Brexit day. He has even been stocking up on day-to-day medicines such as paracetamol and antacids as well as vitamins.

"I've got tin stuff: pulses and beans, bags of pasta, olive oil; things that we import. I'm hoping it won't come to fruition, but with the latest rumblings and amendments [in Parliament] it seems increasingly likely."

He adds: "The supermarkets are saying they expect empty shelves, so I think it is prudent to stockpile canned stuff."

Richard, who runs his business Zumo Juice Design from home, says he is also starting to store frozen goods and has begun to order tinned fruit.

He says in the event of a no-deal Brexit we might see a shortage of goods and price rises.

However, should problems fail to materialise, nothing he is buying will go unused or to waste.

"Before Christmas, the whole idea of stockpiling seemed a bit silly, but that has completely changed as we get closer and closer to March. Now it's going the other way and people are asking: should I have one?"

Matthew Scarth-Saunders, 28, York

The prospect of empty shelves and food riots has led two-way-radio technician Matthew to begin stockpiling at his two-bedroom home in Acomb.

"I've got a bunch of food in – tins and dried pasta – and I want to get enough for two to four weeks as we get closer to the end of March.

"I've got a camping stove too and as we get closer to March I will be getting a big cannister to store water."

He's even storing toilet rolls. "If there were food riots, I wouldn't want to go to the shops. And if everything is totally fine, I can use them over time."

Matthew admits he is alone among his family and friends in stockpiling and says his girlfriend, who lives in Pickering, thinks he's "crazy". "She's been laughing at me and thinks I'm mad."

He adds: "But I am just prepared in case things get worse; but hoping that they don't."