A plan by South African bank Absa to deter criminals from bombing its ATMs by fitting them with pepper spray backfired last week when a rogue machine attacked maintenance workers.
According to local news site Independent Online, the bank, in conjunction with police, has fitted 11 cash machines across the Cape Peninsula with cameras and spray canisters.
When the cameras detect that someone is tampering with card slots - either to install a bomb or skimming machine - the pepper spray is ejected, disorientating the culprit, giving police time to reach the site.
However, last week a machine in Fish Hoek accidentally sprayed three people during a routine maintenance inspection, leaving them requiring treatment from paramedics.
According to the Guardian, the number of cash machines blown up in South Africa has risen from 54 in 2006 to 387 in 2007 and nearly 500 last year.
ATMs fitted with pepper spray - Independent Online