A park in Beijing, China has started a trial to try and save toilet paper and prevent thieves from stealing it. Park officials have installed six facial recognition scanners at the city's Temple of Heaven Park. The machines will scan someone's face before providing him or her with 60 cm of toilet paper. That same person will then have to wait for nine minutes if they want extra paper. A park spokesman said there was a problem of visitors to the toilets taking too much toilet paper. He said some people came and filled their bags with it. The park had put up posters and broadcast messages over loudspeakers asking visitors to use less toilet paper.
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The new facial recognition scanners have brought a surprise. They have become a tourist attraction. Visitors are now coming to look at and try out the machines. Videos of people pulling strips of toilet paper from the machines have gone viral on social media sites. Staff are available to help people with problems using the machines or for people who urgently need more toilet paper. The scanners seem to be popular. A user on the Chinese social media site Weibo commented: "This is a really good idea. I recommend that it be rolled out in toilets nationwide." The trial appears to be successful so far. The daily amount of toilet paper used in the park's toilets has gone down by 20 per cent.