Toilet paper stolen from church amid coronavirus panic
As panic-buying of various products intensifies worldwide because of the global coronavirus pandemic, a church in the U.K. says its toilet paper has been stolen.
The church warden at St. Mary and St. Margaret's Church in Sprowston, Norwich, said she discovered two Sundays ago all of their paper rolls were gone, according to multiple news reports.
The church restrooms are open to the public every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., usually used by those visiting the cemetery and for community group meetings.
"We keep the church open for people to use it. My anxiety is that if anyone needs the loo the facilities are available for them," the Rev. Canon Simon Stokes, told the Norwich Evening News.
He continued, "It does seem that people are very fearful and frightened and that seems to be catching."
"People are stockpiling different things. You can put two and two together and make five but my assumption is it is linked to coronavirus, but who knows."
Despite the theft, the church continues to keep its facilities open to the public.
Supermarkets and other stores around the world are running out of toilet paper with pictures of empty shelves rocketing around social media.
In Oregon, one police department has asked residents not to call 911 to report shortages of toilet paper.
“It’s hard to believe that we even have to post this,” the Newport Oregon Police Department wrote on its Facebook page Sunday.
“Do not call 9-1-1 just because you ran out of toilet paper. You will survive without our assistance.”
The police department went on to list what has been used throughout history before toilet paper as possible alternatives consumers might use today such as grocery receipts and cloth rags.
"Be resourceful. Be patient. There is a TP shortage. This too shall pass. Just don’t call 9-1-1. We cannot bring you toilet paper," the department reiterated.
As a result of the panic buying, retailers in the United Kingdom have limited sales of hand sanitizers and some Australian stores have placed restrictions on toilet paper.
The phenomenon of panic-buying is an emotionally driven response to circumstances rooted in what is known as "retail therapy," according to psychologist Paul Marsden of the University of the Arts-London.
“It’s about ‘taking back control’ in a world where you feel out of control,” he said in comments to CNBC.