Waikato Hospital has removed hand sanitiser from its public lobby after six thefts in the past year as people use it to get drunk.
The thefts are not isolated to only Waikato hospital, with others reporting thefts of the substance which can have an alcohol percentage as high as 60 per cent.
The thefts are being blamed on "excessive alcohol marketing" which an addiction expert claims promotes a heavy drinking culture.
At Waikato Hospital one of the thefts included a man caught taking 23 bottles. Another man took 15 bottles. One thief tried to drink the hand sanitiser as he ran from security staff.
Waikato Hospital has moved the bottles from public lobby areas.
National addiction centre director Doug Sellman wasn't surprised by the thefts given Kiwi society was "deliberately facilitating a heavy drinking culture".
- © Fairfax NZ News