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Coronavirus: Mother-daughter duo brawl with another woman over toilet paper as panic wave hits supermarkets

A video of the assault went viral on social media and showed three women yelling, screaming, pushing, shoving and fighting over a jumbo packet of toilet paper
UPDATED MAR 19, 2020
(Billy HC Kwok/Getty Images)
(Billy HC Kwok/Getty Images)

Tensions around the coronavirus are bringing out the worst in people. Many residents, in order to ensure all precautionary measures are taken to avoid falling sick, resort to dire methods. This, as is often the case, leads to expected scuffles and lawlessness. 

In Sydney, a mother and daughter duo who brawled over toilet paper in Woolworths have been charged with affray (fighting in a public place to cause disturbance). 

After reports of an assaulted 49-year-old woman came in on Saturday morning, police were called to the scene at a Woolworths store at Chullora in Sydney's south-west. 

A video of the assault went viral on social media. The incident showed three women yelling, screaming, pushing, shoving and fighting over a jumbo packet of toilet paper amid a coronavirus panic. 

The mother and daughter duo had spent hours waiting for the store to open at 7 am. When the store opened, the 60-year-old mother and 23-year-old daughter started piling their trolley high with toilet paper, as is seen in the video. 

When another woman reportedly tried to pick up a packet of toilet paper from the huge pile in the mother's trolley, it sparked the brawl. A member of the staff managed to break up the fight.

"Are you f****** joking?" the other woman asked. 

NSW Police said the staff separated the women before police were called. "Officers from Bankstown Police Station attended and spoke to a 49-year-old woman, who had allegedly been assaulted," a police spokesperson said. "She was uninjured."

"At 8 pm, two women attended Bankstown Police Station and spoke with investigators." On Sunday, the duo from Bankstown was issued court attendance notices for affray. They must appear at Bankstown Local Court on April 28. 

NSW Police acting inspector Andrew New said it was disappointing to see shoppers resorting to physical force over toilet paper.

Assuring people of enough stocks, the inspector said, "It's just bad behavior by people that are panicking and there is just no need for any of that panic because there are sufficient supplies. It's not the Thunderdome, it's not Mad Max, we don't need to do that."

Earlier this week, in an attempt to control the hysteria at their end, the supermarket chain had imposed a four-packet per customer limit on the sale of toilet paper after having its shelves stripped by shoppers. 

"We will not tolerate violence of any kind from our customers in our stores and we are working with police who are investigating the matter," a Woolworths spokesperson said.