Tesco has played down concerns about an alleged anti-mask protest in one of its stores in Essex. 

Videos have surfaced on Twitter which show a group of shoppers in the Tesco shop in Princes Road, Chelmsford, on Saturday who were not wearing masks. 

It is claimed it was part of an organised demonstration against the wearing of face masks.

Customers are required by law to wear masks inside all shops, unless they are exempt for medical reasons. 

Tesco said police were called to the store on Saturday and spoke with the customers who were not wearing a face covering. 

The individuals had told staff at the shop they were exempt from wearing them. 

Tesco says its staff will encourage customers to comply with the law, but will not "put themselves at risk if challenged". 

A spokesman added: "Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on ensuring everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment.

“To protect our customers and colleagues, we won’t let anyone into our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with Government guidance.

"We are also asking our customers to shop alone, unless they’re a carer or with children.

"To support our colleagues, we will have additional security in stores to help manage this.”

The Department of Health and Social Care did not comment on the incident but pointed towards the government's coronavirus face mask rules.

DHSC reminds shoppers that masks are “Largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission.”