Coronavirus: Toilet paper, soap stolen from Nelson public toilets

Toilet paper and soap dispensers appear to have been stolen from some of Nelson City Council's public toilets amid coronavirus panic.

The council posted on its Facebook page that it was trying to promote good hygiene practices by keeping the toilets well-stocked with liquid or bar soap due to the outbreak, but some people were taking advantage of the free supplies.

"Removing these items from our toilets makes it harder for our community to resist a widespread outbreak," it said in a Facebook post.

"We ask that people please think about others and refrain from taking these supplies."

No hand wash was also a problem earlier this week when a local commented on a Nelson Council Facebook post saying there wasn't any soap in a beach-side public toilet.

The council said it is trying to ensure all its toilets have soap and it is working to restock them.

Toilet paper thieves are also appearing in the US. One roadside public toilet in Nebraska saw such an increase in stolen toilet paper that it forced local authorities to make some changes.

The toilet will now only be open if there's an attendant present, otherwise, it will be shut, local paper Lincoln Journal Star said.

"We're doing our best to keep them open, but we want to make sure when we do keep them open we have a safe location," a Department of Transportation spokesperson said. 

"With that comes maintaining it and making sure it's in a good condition."