Pepper-Spray Defence Means South Africa robbers Face Loss of Balance at Cash Machines

Cash machines offer an ever-growing menu of services beyond merely dispensing money. For tampering criminals, this now includes a squirt of pepper spray in the face. The extreme measure is the latest in South Africa’s escalating war against armed robbers who target banks and cash delivery vans. The number of cash machines blown up with explosives has risen from 54 in 2006 to 387 in 2007 and nearly 500 last year. The technology uses cameras to detect people tampering with the card slots. Another machine then ejects pepper spray to stun the culprit while police response teams race to the scene. But the mechanism backfired in one incident last week when pepper spray was inadvertently inhaled by three technicians who required treatment from paramedics

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