Local councils beg Sydney residents to stop stealing toilet paper from public toilets amidst coronavirus shortages

Toilet paper shortage still felt across Australia. Source: Getty Images

Several local council areas in Sydney report that people have been stealing toilet paper from public toilets, as COVID-19 panic sparks shortages.

A number of Sydney's local councils are pleading with residents to stop stealing toilet paper from public toilets during the COVID-19 shortage, following an uptick in toilet paper theft in the past few weeks.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Willoughby City Council on Sydney's north shore announced that it was considering closing public toilets in two locations due to the issue, adding that "some people are not being as considerate or community-minded as we would have hoped".

A representative of Willoughby City Council told The Feed that the primary incidents of theft occurred last week at two public toilet facilities in different suburbs. In one instance, vandals apparently forced open a metal toilet paper dispenser to obtain a roll, causing damage to the facility.

"The big silver things that are on the wall, they were kind of dented and pushed in and forced open, and the toilet paper stolen," the spokesperson told The Feed.

"We haven't taken a decision to close it at this stage, and we do want to keep them open because people are still wanting to get exercise and fresh air."

"Generally we've seen people be really good and adhering to the rules on everything, and this is relatively minor but we just want to flag with people."

Several other local councils in Sydney's affluent north shore area told The Feed they had also seen a recent spike in toilet paper theft.

A spokesperson for North Sydney Council, which borders Willoughby, confirmed that there has been a definite uptick in toilet paper theft in recent weeks.

It appears that soap has also been stolen from public toilet soap dispensers, which are emptying faster than usual.

Ku-ring-gai Council, also located on Sydney's north shore, also confirmed that toilet paper theft was "a bit of an issue" two to three weeks ago, but that the council has managed the problem by leaving fewer spare rolls in toilets and restocking dispensers more regularly.

A spokesperson for the Inner West Council said that toilet paper had been taken from a couple of dispensers, but that the problem was minor, with only two to three incidents of theft reported from a pool of approximately 50 public toilets.

The Feed has reached out to a number of local council areas across Sydney to investigate whether this problem is widespread.

In any case, please don't steal bog roll from public toilets (or shops, or your workplace). We'll get through this shortage, and there's plenty to go around.

--

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Indoors, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.