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Hackney Council threatens to prosecute loo roll thieves after spate of coronavirus-related thefts from park toilets

PUBLISHED: 16:28 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:53 16 March 2020

Toilet roll has been chained to the wall at the London Fields public toilet. Picture: Art Sejdiu

Toilet roll has been chained to the wall at the London Fields public toilet. Picture: Art Sejdiu

Art Sejdiu

Hackney Council has threatened to prosecute anyone stealing from its public toilets, after panic over the coronavirus pandemic sparked a spate of loo roll thefts.

Hackney Council has warned people not to steal toilet rolls at the London Fields public toilet. Picture: Art SejdiuHackney Council has warned people not to steal toilet rolls at the London Fields public toilet. Picture: Art Sejdiu

The council has now been forced to chain the toilet rolls to the wall using padlocks.

It said that three of its six parks - Clissold, London Fields, Haggerston, Hackney Downs, Hackney Marshes and Springfield Park - have been most affected, but has not said which.

A notice next to the chain explains that there has been a “significant increase” of thefts of toilet paper and soap in the past few weeks.

“If toilet paper and soap continue to be removed as soon as it is replenished, we will be forced to close the park toilets,” it warns.

“Please respect your fellow park users.”

Council chiefs have now gone one step further, and threatened to prosecute thieves.

Aled Richards, director of public realm, said: “Due to the repeated thefts of toilet roll and soap from some parks toilets, we have placed notices in all parks warning people to respect these community facilities.

“Sadly, the selfish acts of a few people are threatening facilities that allow everyone to wash their hands.

“We will seek to prosecute anyone we find stealing from toilets.”

The government has told Britons not to “panic buy” amid coronavirus fears, but many are doing the opposite.

The “irrational” behaviour began at the virus’ epicentre in the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading throughout Asia, Australia, and now Britain.

For NHS guidance on dealing with the virus, see here.

Join our coronavirus updates Facebook group for the latest news from across north London.

Have you tested positive for coronavirus? Are you suffering from symptoms associated with the virus? Contact Emma at the Gazette newsdesk on Emma.Bartholomew@archant.co.uk

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