Hospital visitors are being warned not to steal hand sanitising gel after the demand for the product surges over coronavirus fears.

Bottles have been taken from the end of patients beds and dispensers have been ripped off walls at Northampton General Hospital.

Bosses at the hospital have confirmed that as fast as they are filling and replacing sanitising gel they are being stolen.

They are disappearing every day and now supply to the wards has had to be limited.

A spokeswoman for the hospital has said that “Nothing like this has ever happened in all the years we’ve had the gel,”

The theft of hand gel is only having an increased risk to patients as hand washing is being prevented from happening for those visiting the wards.

The hospital said “Over the past week we’ve seen stocks on the wards disappear from the end of beds every single day,”

“Three wall-mounted dispensers have been ripped off and we’ve even seen people coming in and topping up their own dispensers with our product,”

The NHS says that washing your hands is a key part of preventing the spread of viruses, but hand sanitiser gel can be used when soap and water are not available.

The hospital has now stopped putting the hand gel at the end og every bed. because they say “We don’t have an unlimited supply and would ask that visitors to the site respect the fact that we are doing all we can to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe, and we need their support,”