Addicts have been drinking alcoholic hand sanitiser provided free for the public, according to reports.
Vandals in South Tyneside have also damaged hand sanitiser stations which were put up in town centres to protect shoppers.
Local councillor Pat Hay said she had reported the damage and expected it to be fixed.
A member of the public replied to her social media post, saying she had seen three men break in to a dispenser in Hebburn, fill milkshake bottles with the liquid and drink it.
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson 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.
“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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