A commercial banking company in South Africa is investing in an arms race with bank robbers to deter them from breaking into ATM machines to swipe cash, reports the Guardian.
The solution: ATM machines that squirt pepper spray at anyone tampering with the machine.
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.
Pioneered by Absa in cooperation with police, 11 ATM machines in high-risk areas will be armed with the pepper spray technology. If successful, the pepper-spraying ATMs will be expanded to other sites across the country.