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Town centre hand gel stations being smashed up 'for alcohol gel inside'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Public hand sanitizer station ( Getty Images/iStockphoto )

Hand sanitiser stations set up in town and city centres across England are being smashed up by people who then drink the alcohol gel inside, it has been reported.

The units, which have been installed to help shoppers protect themselves from coronavirus as lockdown restrictions are eased, are being targeted by vandals who then dispense the sanitiser into bottles for supping,, a York-based company contracted with disposing of thousands of gel containers up and down the country every week, has claimed.

“It’s happening all over the place, pretty much everywhere,” director Mark Hall told The Independent. “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 per cent proof with who knows what other chemicals inside. Do not drink it.”

Mr. Hall went on to add that at least one supermarket chain the company dealt with had reported that such gels had become a prime target of shoplifters.

In the town of Hebburn, in the North East, several such public hand-cleaning points have been removed after residents and businesses reported them being targeted.

“We are aware that a small minority of people are using hand sanitiser stations inappropriately,” a spokesperson for South Tyneside Council, which installed the units, said.

And they added: “This is totally unacceptable and we urge people to behave responsibly. Any damage will be reported to the police.

“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.”

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