Vandals Smashing Up Hand Sanitiser Dispensers To 'Drink Alcohol Inside'
'Mindless' vandals have been smashing up hand sanitiser stations, reportedly in order to drink the alcohol inside.
Dispensers across South Tyneside are being smashed into, with witnesses claiming they'd seen the liquid transferred into bottles and drunk.
One person claimed she saw three men fill milkshake bottles with hand sanitiser and drink it in Hebburn, Metro reports.
Councillor Pat Hay posted about the problem on Facebook, saying that seven of the 14 dispensers set up at the Nook shopping area had to be removed due to damage, having been installed to help protect people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hay wrote: "Hand sanitising stations at the Nook Shopping Centre have been vandalised. Out of the 14 hand sanitising stations placed at the Nook, seven have been vandalised beyond repair.
"We are looking at the replacement but this has significant cost implications to our council."
Many people also commented on Hay's post to share reports of similar incidents elsewhere.
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said they were aware of the incidents involving hand sanitisers, and encouraged people to be more responsible with them.
Their statement said: "We are aware that a small minority of people are using hand sanitiser stations inappropriately.
"There have also been some incidents of dispensers being vandalised.
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"This is totally unacceptable and we urge people to behave responsibly.
"These points have been installed for the benefit of the whole community and in line with Government guidance around social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent further spread of Covid-19."
BusinessWaste.co.uk, based in York, is the company contracted with disposing of thousands of the damaged gel containers each week.
Director Mark Hall that there had been instances of such vandalism 'pretty much everywhere', saying it was 'idiocy'.
He told the Independent: "It's happening all over the place, pretty much everywhere. We take these away for councils and businesses, and we're seeing so many damaged you wouldn't believe.
"It's mindless idiocy. This stuff is 80 percent proof with who knows what other chemicals inside. Do not drink it."
Hall has also previously urged people to think twice when it comes to disposing of bottles of their own hand sanitiser, saying we still need to remember to recycle.
"Although it's fantastic to see that people are really taking personal hygiene seriously, we have a duty to fulfil to our planet," he wrote in a company blog post earlier this year.
"Times may be frightening and confused for many individuals during the Covid-19 outbreak, we cannot allow ourselves to fall into the bad habit of just chucking everything into the general rubbish."
Featured Image Credit: North News