SYDNEY: A fight over toilet roll ended with a man being tasered, Australian police said Thursday (Mar 5), as coronavirus concerns drive panic buying.
Police were called to a store in the New South Wales town of Tamworth after the man allegedly lashed out and attacked another customer and a worker.
The New South Wales police said in a statement that the 50-year-old man first visited a department store along Bridge Street in Tamworth.
“Police were told the man became aggressive over stock unavailability and threw boxes of tissues at a female staff member and walked off.
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“When a female customer approached the man, he allegedly grabbed her around the throat before she was assisted by another customer. No injuries have been reported,” the police added.
The man had later visited a supermarket where he purchased items, before he was approached by the police.
As officers attempted to arrest the man, he resisted and attempted to put one of the officers into a headlock and grasped at another officer’s firearm, police said.
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“After police deployed a taser to affect the man’s arrest, he was taken to Tamworth Police Station, where he was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics as a precaution,” the police added.
The man has been charged with two counts each of common assault, resisting an officer in the execution of duty, and assaulting an officer in the execution of duty.
He has also been refused bail and will appear at Tamworth Local Court on Friday.
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More than 50 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Australia so far with the latest cases including an eight-month-old baby in Adelaide.
Coronavirus fears have triggered runs on several products, including hand sanitisers and face masks, with images of shoppers stacking trolleys with toilet rolls spreading on social media.
A fiery truck crash in Brisbane on Wednesday night further fuelled concerns after it was revealed it to be carrying loo roll.
But supermarkets and manufacturers urged calm, reassuring customers that deliveries were increasing to compensate for the demand.
READ: COVID-19: Panic buying prompts toilet roll rationing Down Under
Two major supermarket chains have also limited purchases on toilet paper to help quell the stockpiling.
Darwin’s daily paper, the NT News, made light of the loo roll hysteria, printing several blank pages for their readers to use if worst comes to the worst.
“We’ve printed an eight-page special lift-out inside, complete with handy cut lines, for you to use in an emergency,” the paper’s front page read.