Coronavirus: Tower Hamlets residents urged not to stockpile

The driver was stopped by the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency near the Blackwall Tunnel. Pictur

The driver was stopped by the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency near the Blackwall Tunnel. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

Tower Hamlets Council has warned residents not to panic buy goods during the coronavirus outbreak after a van pulled over near the Blackwall Tunnel was found to be more than a ton overweight because the driver had stockpiled so much toilet roll.

The driver was stopped on Wednesday, March 11 and his van found laden with toilet and kitchen rolls.

He was fined £300, the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency said.

During a full council meeting last night, councillors passed an emergency motion vowing that it would proactively inform residents about the work it was doing to prevent the spread of the virus.

Chief executive Will Tuckley told the meeting there four confirmed cases of coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, in Tower Hamlets and the borough has put in place the multiagency flu pandemic plan.

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The cross party motion asked the local authority to keep residents informed of cleaning procedures going on and to publish advice in different languages. The council also vowed to work with faith groups and retailers to make sure they did not run out of essentials.

Cllr Peter Golds, who proposed the motion, said: 'This is a matter of local, regional, national and worldwide importance. We are obviously all concerned about what is happening.'

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He urged residents not to panic buy goods and said the case of the van driver shows what is 'tragedy and danger sometimes turns into farce'.

Mayor John Biggs, who seconded the motion, said: 'This is an international emergency and people in our borough are nervous. We need to reassure and encourage people to be safe.'

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